A divorce can be one of the most difficult events in a person’s life. Spouses separating and dividing assets and debts can be a challenge. Lawyers are there to aid adults with these property issues. However, explaining to your children why you are getting a divorce and how your child’s life will change can be heart breaking and there is no exact playbook on how to tackle these issues.
When going through a divorce in Texas, most Courts order parents to attend a parenting class so that the adults can learn how to co-parent during and after the divorce. However, not much guidance is given to parents on how to explain the topic of divorce to their children.
Sesame Street has taken on the topic of divorce for children ages 2 – 8 in a series entitled “Little Children: Big Challenges” which features sixteen short videos on their website www.sesamestreet.org/divorce.
Sesame Street has been on television for forty years and has tackled numerous subjects such as marriage and death but has not discussed the topic of divorce until now. In 1992, Sesame Street attempted to discuss divorce but the episode ultimately never aired. Divorce is more prevalent now than in 1992 and opinions on divorce and education regarding divorce have become more accepting over the last 20 years. The clips begin with the character, Abby Cadabby, whose parents are divorcing. Abby explains what divorce is, her feelings and how she now lives in two houses, one with her mother and one with her father.
As part of the series “Little Children: Big Challenges,” there are Sesame Street videos that deal with actual children. Chase, a ten year old boy, is featured in two clips. Chase discusses how his life is now that his parents are divorced and how the divorce makes him feel. Victoria is another little girl who talks about how her life has changed and what it is like to no longer live with her father. Victoria talks about her feelings and how she has a network of family members that have helped her during and after her parents’ divorce.
The Sesame Street divorce videos have been receiving a lot of press in recent days. Denise Albert from the Huffington Post has been blogging about her experiences as she goes through her own divorce. Denise Albert: Divorce Diaries. Ms. Albert details how she and her Husband told their children that they were going to divorce. Ms. Albert also showed the Sesame Street divorce videos to her children and was inspired by the fact that the Sesame Street videos gave her children an understanding of what they were going through as well as giving other children an understanding of what her own children may be going through. I have read Denise Albert’s blog and have also watched all sixteen clips of the Sesame Street divorce videos. I agree with the approach Ms. Albert has taken in showing her children the Sesame Street divorce videos. There are not enough outlets for children when it comes to understanding divorce and the feelings that come with it. Sesame Street is one of the most identifiable resources to children. The fact that Sesame Street is addressing the issue of divorce makes the topic less taboo as well as helps a child from feeling isolated from their classmates and family during and after a divorce.
The Sesame Street videos are wonderful aids to divorcing or divorced families as well as to all children. Whether a child comes from a divorced home or not, a child will inevitably know a classmate whose parents are divorced. The Sesame Street videos bring knowledge and understanding of divorce to all children regardless of their family dynamics.
The Sesame Street divorce videos are not shown on television but are free online and are also available on iTunes.