This is 1 of 8 myths voiced by parents David & Laura Sherwood to rationalize their custody battle in #TalktoStrangersFilm. It reflects the parents’ sincere though misguided confidence in their ability to protect 9-year-old Nicholas and 12-year-old Emily during the custody case.
Like the other myths Mom and Dad articulate, this one contains a kernel of truth—but only a kernel—and is ultimately dispelled as the story unfolds.
For example, we see Nick waiting anxiously for Ms. Castillo’s home visit as we hear Laura on the phone describing the custody evaluation process as “a marathon” for the kids (13:09). Nick is visibly uncomfortable throughout this sequence, and even more so later in his bedroom where he conceals a stuffed animal beneath his pillow (13:21) and defiantly repositions a toy dinosaur that Castillo has picked up to take a closer look at (13:37).
At the Court Services Office in the courthouse, Emily is shocked to learn that she won’t be able to speak to the judge about her preference to live with David (16:35). Coupled with her parents’ refusal to discuss “The Case” with the children, Emily realizes that she is unable to communicate with “the only ones who count” (16:45). And when Castillo has finished speaking with Emily and calls out Nick’s name in the waiting room (17:17), his reluctance is palpable.
Children do want to be heard, but by their parents, not strangers from the court system.