The kids are alright... or are they? Documentary Idea

by Jon Harrison
(Manchester, UK)

Sadly, a lot of children are brought up these days by parents who, for a variety of reasons, are separated. The impact on the children can be massive but it often goes un-noticed by the parents themselves who are so consumed with their own anger, bittterness, jealousy or resentment of a situation that they miss the signs that are staring them in the face, the signs that tell them that their kids are confused, upset and frightened.

If the parents go to court agencies like CAFCASS, it will play an active role in highlighting this issue. But, unfortunately for many couples, the parental tug-of-war is kept away from the courts and a long and drawn out battle ensues from which the children will often emerge scarred and damaged.

You'd be correct in assuming that I speak from my own experience. As a 'Good' father to my two boys I have spent 7 years trying to do the right thing by my sons. I've taken their mother to court, I've tried on numerous occassions to initiate mediation and I have had some success... but.. there are thousands of good Dads out there for whom contact with their children during their formative years can be made very difficult. The impact of this on the children can last a lifetime, important bonding time is lost forever and relationships can be shattered. In many cases, the child's understanding and knowledge of who their father is and what role he played in their upbringing is twisted and poorly represented by the period of angst that they've been unfairly submerged in during their childhood.

TV is the perfect medium for this story and a great opportunity to educate parents that 'parenting' is more than a biological privilege, it's a duty and a responsibility and you owe it to your kids to do it right.. whatever the circumstances.

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Sep 19, 2012
What's the goal of the documentary?
by: Desktop Documentaries

Thanks Jon for submitting your idea. It is certainly tragic to see children get caught in the middle of divorce. From a filmmaker's angle, how would you go about telling this story? What do you see as the "result" or "impact" of the film? Is it simply to raise awareness to parents going through divorce?

Sep 20, 2012
The perspective
by: Jon Harrison

A film like this would have to be balanced to represent the views of all parties, if you like it's 3 stories in 1.
Each of the adults has an opinion and a view based on their personal feelings and perception of the situation, but what's significant for me in this scenario and probably were my focus would lie is with both the visible and the invisible impact that a situation like this can have on the children.
It's vitally important that the parents "act in the Childs best interests" but this key factor is often forgotten or gets diluted in the melting pot of emotions that exists between the adults.
The purpose of the film would be to try and help couples examine their behaviour and to encourage them to consider how this is affecting their Children.
The visible signs are obvious but the invisible signs are far less obvious and can often go un-noticed lending themselves to longer term social and psychological problems for the child.
In short I believe this is a very common issue being experienced by thousands of families everywhere, everybody's circumstances will be different and unique to them but the impact on the children will be very similar regardless of social class or ethnicity.

May 24, 2015
The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce
by: Alison

Hi, I like your idea. I found this book to provide amazing insight on the effect of divorce on children, particularly depending on how the divorce is handled by the parents. Check it out if you're still working on this idea: The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Study by Judith S. Wallerstein.

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