Following is a recent story which was published in the Oregon Mediation Association quarterly newsletter on Professor Child’s film “Children & Divorce”.
Mediators have the sometimes challenging job of developing an agreed upon
parenting plan for children and families. “Children and Divorce”, a unique film
produced by Professor Child, is helping parents understand what children
experience during divorce, but may not feel comfortable communicating to their
parents. The film and the accompanying workbook encourage discussions
between children and their parents. Professor Child believes if parents watch
this film, they will become more aware of children’s needs during the divorce
process. If parents listen to the children’s advice, they are more likely to work
with each other and in turn, help the mediation process.
In the documentary-style film, eight children come together to share their divorce
stories. “What’s different about this film is the idea of allowing children to
teach others by sharing their stories without clinical messages or adult advice,”
said Sharon Richards, co-founder of Professor Child. “We have heard from
mediators, therapists and parents about the importance of using this film as a
tool to help families throughout the divorce process.”
The Professor Child project was inspired by co-founder Jenni O’Keefe’s
unsuccessful search for positive, healing tools for a young family member who
had been struggling with grief and divorce. She wanted to find a way to instill a
sense of hope and healing for kids. “I knew there was an opportunity to create
something special,” said O’Keefe. After partnering with co-founders Sharon
Richards, a mental health counselor, and Rory Kidder, a former public school
teacher, Professor Child was launched with the main focus of children teaching
children by sharing their personal stories.
Film viewers hear how children define divorce, what it means to them, how they
heard the news, and their biggest worries. They share what it’s like to go back
and forth between homes and what their parents’ relationships are like post-
divorce. Viewers hear what has helped the children, what advice the children
have for other kids and parents, and what gives them hope. The children are
honest, brave and courageous in their storytelling and will leave you feeling
“Our goal was to have children teach children about divorce, but what we’ve
learned from parents, teachers, therapists and mediators who have purchased
the film, is that children can teach children and adults,” said O’Keefe.
Danielle Randolph, a divorced parent who recently viewed the film said, “Even
though this is obviously geared toward children, I think it would be an eye opener
to divorcing and divorced parents.” Randolph goes on to share, “The advice to
parents was one of my favorite chapters because it really points out things that
adults don’t consider…like how to tell their kids they are getting divorced, or to
remember to reassure their children that it’s not their fault…and not to use their
children as a go between.”
Brie Cutlip, a divorced parent, watched the film with her children and said, “After
watching the film, it seemed like my step-kids felt some relief from having seen
other kids asking questions that they had themselves, it helped them to realize
they are not alone in how they feel and that children go through this everyday.
Divorce can leave children with unanswered questions and sometimes feeling as
if they are the reason. Does that mean as parents we should stay in a marriage
for the children? Not at all, but by watching this film, you can understand how
your children may be feeling and how you can help them to understand and feel
loved throughout the divorce process.”
Professor Child hopes mediators will benefit by watching this film and
recommend it to their clients who may need it most. Affordably priced ($34.99),
the film comes with a free corresponding workbook with many discussion
questions and creative exercises that encourage the healing process for both
parents and children. “It is a company mission that we keep all our products
affordable so as many families and children can access the tools as possible,”
said Sharon Richards.
For more information about Professor Child, to watch a trailer or purchase the
film, Children and Divorce, please visit www.professorchild.com.