Yesterday, I had the opportunity to watch a incredible screening of an upcoming documentary entitled, Don't Divorce Me! Kids' Rules for Parents on Divorce. This poignant and emotional film chronicles over 50 children as they speak honestly and candidly about the effects of divorce on their lives as well as their feelings during this difficult time.
Don't Divorce Me Screening
A difficult issue for parents to face, the film takes the focus away from the adults and allows the children to speak about the struggles of divorce while also providing incredible tips on how parents should talk to their kids. Some tips include: 'Don't Put in the Middle,' 'Don't Blame Us for the Divorce,' ' Don't Make Me the Messenger,' ' Don'y Ask me to Spy,' Tell Us It's Not Our Fault,' 'Don't Take Your Anger Out on Me,' and more that were all written out by the children in the film and featured through their pictures and conversations, which are also universal feelings that many children of divorced families feel and have experienced.
Through the film, there were also a lot of themes around honesty, open communication and respect that became the center of the dialogue where the children shared their personal struggles through a collection of montagnes and stories about how they struggled and what they learned from the experience. Some were funny, some sad and others incredibly honest, which I believe the film is indicating is all a part of the long healing process.
Directed and produced by Amy Schatz and executive produced by Rosie O'Donnell, the film is an important resource for families going through a divorce as a way to stop, reflect and include their children in an open and honest way as everyone learns to create a new life, or as one of the kids said in the film find a "bright side" in divorce.
After the film, Tovah Klein, Ph.D, Director of Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, and Ron Taffel, author and child and family therapist, who spoke about the many dimensions of divorce and how it effects children, which in many ways is based on their temperament. Tovah specifically discussed anger, and stated, "it is ok for kids to be mad." Adding, "acknowledge their feelings and talk to them about what is going on." She said to do this by providing comfort and warmness, but not putting them in the middle of the situation. Taffel also agreed with this and spoke about how every child is different and that kids need to learn how to get through rough patches in life. He stated, "every day is not picture perfect."
Through the remarkable film, Don't Divorce Me, I learned more than I ever have about this emotional and difficult situation through the eyes of children who spoke so honestly; so candidly and so raw that provided a unique way for both other kids and adults to truly understand the emotions behind a divorce.
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