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Sesame Street helps young children cope with divorce

The divorce rate in the United States currently sits around 40 percent, and millions of households are affected each year when parents split up. Although the divorce rate has declined slightly in New Jersey from its peak in 1981 when 4.1 divorces took place for every 1,000 state residents, about three divorces still occur for every 1,000 residents. This leaves many parents wondering how to explain their situation to their children.

To help parents explain their impending divorces to their young children, Sesame Workshop has developed a series of videos and other tools to illustrate divorce situations and commonly involved emotions in ways that young children's minds can easily grasp. In one video, Sesame Street puppet Abby Cadabby shows off pictures of her two houses where she spends time as part of a shared custody arrangement with her parents.

Renowned author JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, who has spoken to members of Congress and White House staff about divorce, acted as an advisor on the multimedia project. Other educators and clinical psychologists also provided guidance while the materials were being developed. According to one New Jersey therapist, the shared custody arrangement focused on in the Sesame Street divorce kit helps children have better relationships with both of their parents.

When young children are part of a family dealing with the end of a marriage, the process can be especially difficult. Before making any final decisions about the divorce, parents should learn about the different child custody plans available to decide whether a shared custody or another arrangement is best for them.

Source:, "Sesame Street tackles the issue of divorce," Sachi Fujimori and Heidi Stevens, Jan. 24, 2013

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