Warning: If you choose to watch this video, please do so having been forewarned that it includes language that is graphic and coarse, and will therefore likely be disturbing to anyone sensitive to, or offended by those issues. If you are one of those people, please skip watching the attached video.
Recently my son suggested I listen to a rap song written by Eminem, as he thought it would strike a chord with me and remind me of the time I spent working as a social worker for the Massachusetts Department of Social Services (now the Department of Children and Families).
I listened. It was chilling. I listened again. It reverberated and resonated and tore at my heart. I’m attaching it here, Headlights by Eminem as a reminder of what keen observers children are (even, perhaps especially, when their parents are not watching).
The importance of a child feeling loved by his parents knows no bounds. The tragedy of a child feeling unloved by his parents also knows no bounds. The evolution of divorce in our country recognizes how important it is for a child to have access to both of his parents so that he can forge meaningful relationships with both of them. The inability to create those childhood connections can result in an adulthood forever marred by that loss.
The more the Courts have learned about the psychological impact of divorce, the more they have been able to attend to children’s needs. In 1975, Judith Wallerstein and her partners began conducting a longitudinal study about children of divorce. In 2000, she published The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, a body of work that has had a seminal influence on the Courts and society at large. One of her most important findings was that despite the benefits many adults feel they achieve at the time of their divorce, children often feel bereft at the loss of their family (no matter how unhappy the adults were being married to each other). It is unconscionable to ignore what we now know is true for children who experience their parents’ divorce, and therefore it is imperative that we attend to the details of a family’s restructuring and the very real loss children feel when their parents decide to divorce. Divorcing adults and the professionals who work with them to achieve their goals owe children nothing less.
The importance of a child feeling loved by his parents knows no bounds. The tragedy of a child feeling unloved by his parents also knows no bounds.