Originally written for a 1992 show, Sesame Street recently brought out a segment dealing with divorce. The 13-minute piece aired online Dec. 11.
In this episode, Abby Cadabby, a fairy-like puppet on the show, shows how she lives in two homes: one with mommy and one with daddy. After being asked why she lived in two different locations, Abby explained that her parents are no longer married. Using pictures that she drew of her at each home, she shares how the divorce made her sad and mad at first, but things have improved.
Original testing of the segment in 1992 showed Snuffleupagus telling Big Bird that his dad was moving out of their cave because of something called a divorce. Crying, he shares that he’s not sure where his dad will move. Even after Gordon explains that divorce can sometimes be “for the best” the test show produced disastrous results as pre-schoolers feared that their own parents would split up and they wouldn’t know where to live. The show has since changed its approach.
In an interview with Time, Sesame Street writer, Christine Ferraro said, “Writing about divorce is not easy. My approach was from the point of view of Abby whose parents have gone through a divorce in the past, so that it is not a new, raw emotion.”
Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Sesame Street re-aired an episode where Big Bird’s nest was destroyed after a storm. “A lot of people want to shield kids from the tougher issues,” says Ferraro. “My feeling is, the more information the kid has, the better.”
Read the full article on Time.
Watch segments of the Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce episode
BMWK– How do you feel about this episode? In your opinion, what’s the best way to explain divorce to a young child?