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BreakUp: 'We're done. Now, what about the kids?'

Why do some parents with the best of intentions lose the plot when it comes to the children they love? How do kids feel when they find themselves involved in their parents' issues? Or when they're asked to take sides?

Relationships come apart, marriages end. But is there a way to leave the kids out of it?

Children pay a high price when they are caught up in parental conflict. (Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock)
Do children have to go through the wringer while parents sort out their broken relationships? 54:00

This special initially aired on Oct. 8, 2018. 

Out of the mouths of babes, on BreakUp; children of divorce share their stories, their memories and their pain.

"My parents formally separated when I was nine years old. I remember the day. They told me really, really well … they just said, 'We love you. It's not about you.' I do remember them distinctly saying, 'We're still a family.' I don't ever think I felt like we were still a family after they separated." - Jasper

"I was nine when my parents got divorced. When I was 16, they pulled me in two directions. One said you either have this life with me or that life with the other." - Rob

"Our relationship was tough. That was the toughest relationship I've ever had. I said to my mom, 'We should go after him for child support. You're entitled. I'll help.'" - Damian

"I'm not sure that there's ever actually an appropriate time for a child to find out that one of their parents has committed an infidelity. But certainly at 17, I was not prepared to understand that." - Libby

Why do some parents with the best of intentions lose the plot when it comes to the children they love? How do kids feel when they find themselves involved in their parents' issues? Or when they're asked to take sides in a divorce?

BreakUp co-hosts, left to right: Victoria Smith, Rob Firing and Alexa Turner. (Jake Sherman/Jake Sherman Media)

BreakUp is a CBC Radio special co-hosted by Rob Firing — a child of divorce — and mother-daughter law team Victoria Smith and Alexa Turner, looking at the impact of divorce through the eyes of children themselves.

Child and family therapist Laurie Stein shares her insights into the collateral damage sustained by children on the frontline of family feuds and Judge June Maresca decodes the emotional and psychological cost of divorce when marriage meltdowns get into the courtroom.

About the team

Rob Firing (host) lived through his parents' difficult and rather public divorce as a teenager – a traumatic experience that changed his perspective on relationships, couples and marriage.

Victoria Smith (host) is a collaborative lawyer and mediator, and a pioneer in transforming adversarial divorce into a respectful, constructive process. She is an internationally renowned trainer in the Collaborative process. 

Alexa Turner (host) is Victoria Smith's daughter and law partner. She works with young couples in short-lived marriages; middle-aged and older couples; queer couples; interracial couples; and blended families.

Cate Cochran (producer) wrote about her "good" divorce in her book, Reconcilable Differences: Marriages End, Families Don't.  She is a CBC Radio producer for The Sunday Edition

Lina Cino (producer) has come out the other side of a tough divorce. She has worked in television, documentary, and media for more than 20 years. 

Damian Kearns is a sound producer and has worked for many CBC programs.

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