Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

SPLIT Divorce through Kids' Eyes

SPLIT Divorce through Kids' Eyes

Fall 2014 DVD
Ages: 6 - 16 yrs.
Producer: BrunoFilms
DVD Price: $29.95

According to this DVD's jacket copy, Split is intended to help parents understand the emotional needs of their children during divorce and help kids understand that they are not alone. Without a doubt, this 28-minute film delivers on that promise.

Split provides the points of view of kids only; a wise editorial choice that allows the kids' comments to resonate without being tempered by the perspective of parents or family counseling experts. The ethnically-diverse cast of kids ranges in age from six to twelve and they very candidly share their experiences, their fears, their pain, and ultimately, their hopes for the future.

It begins with kids explaining their current family dynamics: "I have two brothers, one of them is a half-brother and the other one is a stepbrother." "My dad's had three wives. And my mom has a boyfriend." "Every day [my parents] would scream. Scream, scream, scream, scream, scream. And that was really hard."

Another child describes his idea of the perfect family: "The mom and dad are not divorced. They eat pancakes every day."

Some interviews include simple animation or video clips of the kids playing, and interviews are loosely organized around themes. In a section titled "Feelings," kids recall when and how the parents told them they were getting divorced and how the kids reacted. Some are bravely swallowing tears as they talk. In a section titled "Wondering," the kids ponder what caused the split. (One girl says she just wants to ask her mom whether she broke the dad's heart or if he broke her heart.) In another section titled "Wishing," one girl wishes they "could just rewind. And live in the same old house. In the same old world." And in "Moving On," the comments give a reassuring glimpse of how resilient kids are.

Other sections are titled: "What Happened," "Back & Forth," "Two Homes," "Stuck in the Middle," "What Helps," "Talking About It," "New People," and "Life Goes On."

It's all heart-wrenching and illuminating at the very same time - heart-wrenching because the kids are so matter-of-fact about the upheaval they've experienced, and yet illuminating because they can clearly communicate their fears and their needs, providing a roadmap for adults who want to help and a portal to broach important conversations.

Mark this one as essential viewing for any family navigating a "split."

Gina Catanzarite   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster's Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.

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