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Sesame Street will tackle a touchy topic: divorce

Tennessee residents are familiar with Sesame Street, the popular and long-running children's television show. For the second time in the show's 40 years on the air, it is attempting to tackle the subject of divorce.

Sesame Street is calling the new episode "Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce" and hopes that the second attempt will bring a more positive response from their young audience. The first attempt was in 1992, but when they showed it to a test audience of children, it made many cry. This time, the TV show created a guide and a video for parents and their children who may be experiencing divorce and working out a child custody arrangement.

In the video, Abby Caddaby, a Muppet character, together with her friends, are asked to draw pictures of their homes in the video. Another character is puzzled after Abby draws two houses. That is the introduction to the topic of divorce in the show. Abby explains that her parents are divorced and that's why she drew two houses. She also adds that her parents' separation doesn't mean that they don't love her.

Abby's drawing of two houses illustrates a common child custody scenario in which parents have joint custody, with the children splitting time between their mother and their father. In addition to settling primary or joint custody, divorcing parents may work out an arrangement for visitation. The non-custodial parent may spend quality time with the children even though the first parent has custody. This may help cushion the emotional impact of the divorce for the children, although they already understand that their parents are not together.

A divorce does not necessarily mean that each parent cannot play an important role in their children's upbringing. Sesame Street's new video may help children understand this, easing the transition to a new living arrangement.

Source:, "'D' is now for 'Divorce' on Sesame Street," Tammy Vigil, Dec. 13, 2012

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