As the eight children entered the room, we were filled with excitement and anticipation at what the day would bring. Jenni, Sharon and I had been envisioning this day for months. When we first came up with the idea of children teaching children about challenging life events, we had no idea the journey that our dream would take us on. Yet here we were, on Professor Child’s first filming day, about to hear eight children bravely share their own personal stories of divorce.
Divorce was a natural choice for our first film. We had all been affected by divorce in our own lives and were eager to hear about divorce from a child’s perspective. I had recently watched my three nephews endure their parents’ divorce and thought I knew what the children might say in their interviews. I was wrong. As we listened and watched these eight children share their stories, we became the students, and they became our professors.
In the film, Children and Divorce, we hear how children define divorce, what it means to them, how they heard the news, and what was their biggest worry. They share what it’s like to go back and forth between homes and how their parents’ relationships are now post-divorce. You will also hear what has helped them, what advice they would give to kids and parents, and what gives them hope.
There is a common thread that runs through each story and connects them to any child who has experienced divorce. Here are just some of the lessons we learned from our brave professors:
We learned that divorce is a wound that they all carry, as do their parents, but one that can be nurtured and healed by parents making an effort to focus on the child’s needs during the difficult process of divorce.
We learned that children don’t want to hear their parents’ fight. They feel parents are setting a bad example that they wouldn’t want to see in their own children.
We learned that they want their parents to behave nicely towards each other and keep their marital problems in check in front of them.
We learned how important it is for children to talk about the divorce and share their feelings with someone they trust.
We learned how frustrating it can be to go back and forth between homes and how parents could make it so much easier for their children by just listening to these stories and watching this film.
Here is the funny thing. We thought we were making a film for children, and it is. But what we have discovered is that children can teach children AND adults. We thought we knew what children go through in a divorce, but what we learned from making this film is that we don’t know it all. These eight children opened our eyes and gave us a deeper understanding of what divorce is like.