Viral Photo is Stirring Conversation About How Modern Families Really Look

April 18th 2017

Kyle Fitzpatrick

The modern family is anything but traditional.

The idea of a “traditional” family is one consisting of heterosexual parents in their first marriage and that is anything but the norm. As the Pew Research Center found in 2014, the “traditional” family only makeups 46 percent of families. The resulting non-traditional families are composed of parents who have previously been married, single parents, and adults who aren’t the child’s biological parents (like grandparents or adoptive parents).

Still, there are many assumptions about these non-traditional families — and that’s exactly why an image of a co-parented family is going viral. The image, which was shared by Emilee Plaayer of Phenix City, Alabama, includes a child’s parents and step-parents at a soccer game and stresses their success of co-parenting together.

It's causing conversation a lot of conversation, too, with over 77,000 shares, and over 2,9000 comments debating what's best for kids after divorce. 

On Twitter, the image stirred a similar discussion:

Some even shared their own experiences of successful co-parenting:

The image suggests the reality of ideal co-parenting.

Expert Ellie McCann, Extension Educator at University of Minnesota’s Parents Forever program, finds that successful co-parenting is all about communication and trust — and that can be difficult to come by. McCann shared thoughts previously with ATTN: when discussing voluntary co-parenting in March.

“Communication is probably one of the biggest challenges,” she explained. “If you are not in day-to-day, natural contact with the other parent, you have to be pretty intentional about what you’re going to communicate, how you’re going to communicate, and how much.”

It’s important to do what’s best for the family — especially, the kids.

This family's photo has gotten people to start talking about what makes families work, with the resounding takeaway being that as long as the children’s best interests come first, that’s all that matters.

Regarding a situation like Plaayer's photo, McCann’s previously shared advice still holds true:

“If both parents have the same goal, which is really keeping the child up front and their interests leading their relationship, I don’t see what any harm would be.”

Check out the full Facebook post below.