Children are extremely vulnerable to divorce-related stress. That is why many Illinois parents who are separating opt for mediation to help finalize their divorce – so that they can protect their children by keeping conflict to a minimum.
The popular children’s show, “Sesame Street,” understands the sensitivity of the topic. Last week, the show introduced a new video discussing one of the “muppet’s” experiences in her parents’ divorce to the online community. The show, however, has no current plans to air it on television. Sesame Street tried to discuss the topic in the early 90s, but scrapped the idea when a preschool-aged focus group burst into tears after they watched the episode. The show now emphasizes the importance of making the material available to a targeted audience, since children who are not directly impacted by divorce may start to wonder if their parents will get divorced.
The new video is part of a multimedia package entitled “Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce” for those families who need help explaining the very difficult topic to their children. The resource kit provides children’s testimonials and a story book about living in two different homes for children, as well as a caregiver guide and the Sesame Divorce App for parents. An advisor on the project hopes that the much-needed tools will provide an avenue for divorce to be on the show since it is such a major issue in family life today.
In addition to helpful communication tools, divorcing parents in Illinois should be aware of available legal tools to help keep their children’s best interests paramount. Mediation allows a trained neutral third party to assist in negotiations so that both sides can reach a voluntary settlement agreement. Collaborative law allows both sides to work together with their attorneys to reach a solution in a positive setting. Both alternative dispute resolution methods provide a cooperative, less adversarial way for parents to address stressful divorce issues without entering a courtroom and declaring a winner.
Children need to be protected during a divorce. Parents should therefore carefully consider how their children will be affected by their problem-solving methods, and find ways that will lessen the impact by exploring the different legal and communication tools available to them.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “‘Sesame Street’ advises kids about divorce, but not on TV show,” Lori Rackl, Dec. 13, 2012