Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sesame Street Tackles Divorce: Score One for The Muppets

As a divorcing parent you want to check out, evaluate, and possibly use lots of available resources to help your children through your split.  I looked to shelf-help books, storybooks, my children's guidance counselor, and a child psychologist to learn the right words and messages when talking with my kids.  It appears that Sesame Street has realized a need to put the muppets front and center as they tackle the issue of divorce, and I applaud them for this effort.

Sesame has always been a huge part of my life.  I watched it as a youngster on a 12x12 black and white tv. I even watched it with my brother as he went  through the stage several years after me, and I learned sign language from the muppets.  I played Rainbow Connection as a violin solo in elementary school.  As my children started to enjoy the show I was very happy with the electronic babysitter since it was completely safe.  There were endless trips (yes, season passes) to Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA.  Sometimes when teaching statistics I've been known to use the Count's voice - I can't believe I'm admitting that.

And today, my dear friend Maria Ungaro sent me the link to a new massive online bank of information that Sesame Street has just launched...all about divorce.  Access it by clicking here.  Titled "Little Children, Big Challenges" the information contained on this site sits within a simple message...there will be change, there may be sadness, everything you feel is ok, and everything will be ok.

There are different components of the site that allow children to explore the idea of change, important people, and family.  The video, and the way that they present the idea of divorce is a masterpiece.  Abby Cadabby, the muppet with the divorced parents is very clear that yes, while there was lots to get use to, it is all ok.  She draws pictures of the two houses she lives in and is excited to share them both.  And when questioned about why she has to house she explains her living situation in very clear language meant for a child to understand.

In addition to checking out every nook and cranny of the site, I watched a short film about how this information and the video were prepared. I was not-so-shocked to learn that the Sesame Street writing staff had tackled the issue of divorce in the past through the character known as Snuffleupagus.  But apparently, the idea of dear old snuffy talking about his daddy moving out of the family cave was too much for that time.  I'm so glad they have not only tackled, but found footing with this issue which so many of our families face these days.

I have always stressed the importance of acknowledge the multitude of feelings our children go through when their parents divorce and then giving them the skills to deal with them in a positive way.  It is no surprise to me that the muppets have added this amazing resource to the arsenal of support for divorcing parents.

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