Comments for Divorced Kid

Caption: "Divorced Kid" producer Sasha Aslanian at her own wedding in September 1999., Credit: Liz Banfield Photography

Produced by Sasha Aslanian

Other pieces by American Public Media

Summary: America's divorce rate soared in the 1970s. Thirty years later, kids who grew up in the divorce revolution look back at that experience, and describe how it shaped them as adults. The 1970s also offered some lessons on how to improve divorce for kids today.

User image

Remarkable, must-listen

This is a poignant, provocative, deeply meaningful documentary. I highly recommend it, with the warning that it may be difficult for some listeners to hear. It was hard for me. Like Sacha and many, many others of our generation, I am a "divorced kid." And I think like so many "divorced kids," I invested a lot of myself in the idea that divorce was all OK, it didn't really have much of an impact on me. But as I have grown older, I recognize the very deep impact that divorce has had on me and frankly, this documentary woke me up to some of those ways.... I think this is a topic that is under-explored, and Sacha has made a very important program that more people need to hear. This program is definitely a conversation-starter. It would be great to air it with a call-in or interview segment around it. There are lots and lots of questions and emotions to explore. Any producer looking for something good and important to listen to, put this program at the top of your list.

User image

Wonderful, engaging documentary

This lively, personal documentary takes a well-worn topic -- divorce -- and reminds us that it's all around us, dynamic and present, whether or not we always realize it.

Even though I'm a mother and wife who's not going through a divorce and didn't as a kid either, I felt the material in this documentary was very familiar -- so many of my childhood friends and current friends have coped with divorce. At the same time, the piece peels away emotional layers that are not often discussed. It reveals the nuanced pain and even damage suffered by kids of divorce who nevertheless went on to lead successful lives; even Sasha herself admits that it took her years to acknowledge the negative aspects of her parents' divorce, since she'd always been proudly dismissive when people talked of "broken homes."

As narrator/writer/producer, Sasha carries the story from the viewpoint of the child of divorce who's now a mother. It's personal without being overly confessional. The personal parts feel well-integrated into the broader issue of divorce across society. The writing is very accessible, the delivery intimate and comfortable. The story itself moves along fast, with a good variety of material and sound (including her own parents listening back to their wedding vows). And there's great use of archival pop-culture sound, that really brings us post-baby boomers right back to the 70s. (Free to Be You and Me! Kramer vs. Kramer!)

The second part of the documentary is more informational -- about how divorce has changed over the last thirty years -- but it still feels personal and intimate. There are some pretty tough perspectives about marriage, and the responsibility that parents, even unhappy ones, should have for their kids. It also features great interviews with wise, articulate children from today -- who you can imagine turning into the 40-year-old kids who are now reflecting on the divorce of their childhoods.

Caption: PRX default User image

a thought about "making divorce easier"

This was a great piece, very thought-provoking.

My parents divorced in 1976. By the time it happened I was quite relieved. I'm sure living with the dysfunction of my parents' bad marriage and my father's constant straying, was harder on me than the actual divorce. I think most of the damage was done before they finally divorced.

Now at almost 50 years of age, in an unhappy marriage, with an 11year old daughter, I listened to this piece with an ear to what my daughter's experience could be if my husband and I divorce while she is still living at home.

With this thought in mind, I found myself becoming a bit irritated with what seemed to be the expectation that the loss could be alleviated by doing the divorce better. Despite all the best efforts made over the years, experts found that divorce is still hard on the children, maybe to the point of damaging some of them. Well of course it is!! It is a huge, life-altering, loss!! It is a death of a loved thing and like the death of any loved one, parent or siblings, especially, it wounds one to the core. Wounds and loss are part of life. We try to avoid those losses, to protect our children from having to experiencing them, but sometimes that is just not possible or advisable. When contemplating taking such an action as ending a marriage, I think the other question that must be asked is "What am I modeling for my child(ren,)about being in a relationship, by staying in this unhappy marriage?

Thanks for this piece.

User image

Divorced Kid Worked Well on MPR News

Divorced Kid is an engaging doc. Sasha Aslanian uses her own experience as a jumping off point to tell us about how divorce affected kids that grew up in the 70s. To be clear, this isn't just a first person story. Rather Aslanian's personal experiences work as a through-line that adds color to the experts who've been studying divorce for decades. She also thoughtfully uses music and movie clips to paint the picture and really take us back to the 70s. Most importantly, it's compelling radio. MPR News got a lot of good feedback on this doc. We aired it a couple of times and will likely air it again. Strong work.