Getting Started

Watch SPLIT First… Without the Kids

Make time to watch the film and explore the program when your kids aren’t around… after their bedtime, during the school day, or when they are with the other parent. This will give you time to have your own feelings and reactions to the film. Then, when you share the film with your kids, you can fully focus on them.

Listening to children talk about divorce may bring up confusing or difficult feelings for you as a parent. Pay attention to the parts of the film that touch you deeply. Give yourself time to process these feelings. Be patient and accepting of whatever you feel.

You might choose to watch SPLIT with a friend or relative or a small group of divorced parents. Whether you watch alone or with others, if SPLIT stirs up feelings for you, find another adult to talk to. Don’t turn to your kids for support. Kids naturally want to make things better when their parents are upset, but remember: the goal is to support your kids in this process, not ask them to support you.

Dance, write, swim, walk the dog, talk with a trusted friend, see a therapist, accept help from a family member, or find a support group. Taking care of yourself makes you a stronger parent and models a healthy lifestyle for your children.

Before watching SPLIT with your children, take the time to go through the program. It will help prepare you to talk to them about the film.

We don’t always know what our kids are thinking or feeling. Watching SPLIT with your children is a good opportunity to create a safe and comfortable place for them to share their feelings and open the door to new conversations.

And when they do start talking, be an open listener. Don’t judge or contradict what they are saying… and expect to be surprised!

Then Share SPLIT With the Kids

Plan to watch SPLIT when the kids have some down time. Friday after school or Saturday during the day might work. Give your kids plenty of time to ask questions or talk about the film. Turn off the TV, cell phones, and other devices so everyone can focus without being tempted by distractions.

With younger children—six- to ten-year-olds—it’s best to sit in the room and watch the film together, at least for the first time. Young kids learn by doing things more than once, so after you have watched it together, it’s okay to let them watch it again, either with you or on their own.

With older kids—ten to fourteen-year-olds—give them the option to watch SPLIT on their own. If they watch the film without you, stay close by so you can be available if they have questions or want to talk. Be sure to check in with them at some point to see how they are responding to the film.

How to Talk to Your Kids About SPLIT

It’s normal to want to know what your children are thinking and feeling, but don’t expect them to open up right away. Resist the urge to dig too deep, too soon. Some kids may need time to think about the film; others may need to watch it more than once. Pay attention to the signs you are getting from your kids—both verbal and nonverbal—and follow their lead.

Talking about divorce can feel awkward. Kids often talk more freely when the focus isn’t on them. Instead of talking about their own experience, your kids may feel more comfortable making comments about the kids in the film. When they are ready, they may bring the conversation back to their own feelings.

Pay attention to which kids they relate to most in the film—this may be a clue to what your kids are feeling but not talking about.

Don’t worry if your kids don’t open up right away. Watching the film together and asking a few general questions are good first steps. This lets your children know that you are there for them and that it’s okay for them to share their thoughts and feelings.

If your kids don’t want to talk right after the film, give them space. Let them know you understand that divorce isn’t easy, and when they’re ready to talk, you’ll be there to listen. Sometimes the best talks happen when kids don’t feel put on the spot, like when you’re driving in the car, cooking dinner together, walking the dog, or tucking them in at night. Be sure to take advantage of these opportunities.

Kids often have a lot to say when they feel they are being heard. One of the most helpful things you can do for your children is listen to them. But keep in mind: what they have to say may be hard to hear. Do your best to really listen to them without judging, changing, or correcting what they have to say.

Meet the SPLIT Kids

11 years old
Thinks it would be fun to have his dad around more

8 years old
Takes a shower at her mom’s house . . . and a bath at her dad’s

11 years old
Felt really weird when his mom’s new boyfriend came to dinner

10 years old
Talks to her pet rat when she feels lonely

7 years old
Has two moms who tell him they love him . . . almost every day!

10 years old
Sees a counselor who says her only job is “to be a kid”!

12 years old
Remembers a year with seven Christmases!

9 years old
Talk to his teacher when he is having a hard time

9 years old
Talk to his teacher when he is having a hard time

9 year sold
Meditates when she is feeling sad or angry

6 years old
Says her parents’ divorce was like “when something you really love breaks”

8 years old
Says there is no such thing as a perfect family . . . or a perfect circle!