Join our email list.

(type your email address)

Share Your Story

Register to share your story
Already registered: login

Get to Know Your Parents

Recent Stories

Featured Stories

See the Film

51 Birch Street


Read the Reviews

"Soul-jarring yet heartwarming... though it charts one individual journey, the light it sheds spills over onto the entire post-World War II generation."

– Diane Werts, NEWSDAY

Nina Gilden Seavey (age 49)

I haven’t seen Doug’s film yet (because it hasn’t yet come to Washington - which we all hope it will!)

But here’s my thought.  I actually know way more about my parents than I ever wanted to.  There is an aspect of divorce, and my parents divorced when I was 12 - or at least that’s when the process started - where I ended up finding out a lot about them and their relationship, lots of things that I never wanted to know anything about nor really had any business knowing about.

My parents got divorced in the 70’s - before people accepted divorce and anyone “knew how to do it.” Now, there are all kind of books, self-help groups, “putting the kids first” mechanisms that try to shield children, but at that time no one had come up with those paliatives. 

No matter what, when a family is torn apart - lots of pieces of information - self-help books aside - end up emerging that kids would just as soon not know. It’s like all the snakes just crawl out of the box. 

So my attitude about my own kids - I have three, 20, 18 and 16 -is that there are things that are just none of their damn business - both about my relationship with their father and about me as an individual.  I figure as long as I treat them fairly and honestly on that things that do involve them, then that should be sufficient.

But maybe this is the attitude of someone who had too much information - too much, too soon.


It’s really good to hear this perspective as most of us by the time we reach middle age wish we knew much more about our parents but we can’t assume everyone feels that way.

Am sorry for your overload of information as a child. That must have been very difficult for you. I think your stance with your own kids is probably wise but hopefully when they’re older, more mature adults you’ll open up to them more. You are a big part of the legacy that they’ll be left with after you’re gone and they will no doubt want the blank pages filled in to some extent. I don’t think our kids need to have details of our entire history but knowing what challenged you and how you overcame the rough places in life (if that’s the case) is most valuable. If you don’t tell them, they’ll be left to guess and speculate, which is what my brothers and I have been doing for years - trying to fill in those pages.

Thanks for your story.


By: Jan Hayward, on Oct 07, 2006

My folks didn’t divorce. Despite the messiness of their interactions, I feel fortunate that they didn’t...and I lived to see the good times that existed in between and along side all the dreck. 
Not exactly a good model for marital relations...but the beginning of a very solid faith that relationships can survive all sorts of misunderstandings and false starts.
But I digress...I just wanted to let you know I felt the same way...because my parents made no attempt to shield us, we knew every slight and every disappointment. Not the best thing for children. was no real leap for me and my sibs to know our parents as adults...and being rewarded for this acceptance with their approval.

By: leslie genser, on Nov 27, 2006

Leave a Comment



Your Comment:

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Comments are moderated and will not be viewed on the site until approved.