While attending the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts conference in Toronto last week, I had the opportunity to see the movie Split. Directed by Ellen Bruno, Split is a 30-minute documentary that features real kids between the ages of 6 and 12 talking about they experienced their parents’ divorce.

The voice and perspective of kids is one that is too often drowned out during the divorce process. Parents, overwhelmed by their own struggle with the process, can fail to understand what their children are going through or may not be able to provide the type of support needed. This can lead kids to feel isolated and vulnerable.

Split gives these kids a voice and it’s a powerful one. Divided into multiple chapters, including: Families, Change, What Happened, Wishing, Moving On, Back and Forth, Two Homes, What Helps, Talking About it, and Life Goes On, these kid talk openly about different phases of the divorce process: learning about their parents’ divorce, going between houses and moving on after divorce. The film provides an honest look at the sadness and trauma of divorce, but also hopeful statements about adjusting over time.

If you know a family going through divorce, I highly recommend that you bring this film to their attention.

Children going through a divorce will benefit greatly from Split. Seeing other kids on the screen going through the same thing will provide validation for the difficult feelings they are experiencing. Often, children sense that their parents are too overwhelmed to deal with their questions and feelings, so they keep to themselves.  This can create a feeling of isolation for too many kids; seeing other kids talk about the same experiences they are struggling with reminds them they are not alone.

I would also recommend parents going through a divorce watch this film.  The kids in the film are very open about what they don’t like and what they worry about during divorce; this could provide a window into their own children’s fears or struggles.  Also, it could be a starting point for discussion.  Often kids find it easier to talk about someone else, such as a character in a film or book, when dealing with uncomfortable topics.   For example, parents can say, “Do you ever feel like the girl who misses having her father in the house?”

Another goal of this film is to help parents recognize how divorce impacts their kids and to make better choices during and after the divorce.  It is sometimes too easy to act from anger, but this movie reminds everyone involved of the high price kids can pay when their experience is overlooked.

You can find more information on Split at https://www.splitfilm.org/.