Talking about divorce with your kids
For fathers of young children, broaching the topic of divorce is often one of the most daunting aspects of dissolving a marriage. Regardless of the age of your children, breaking the news that you are divorcing can be one of the most difficult conversations you will ever have.
With young children, the conversation can be even more challenging because toddlers and elementary school kids frequently don’t have the emotional vocabulary to express their feelings and can have difficulty understanding the situation.
“Little Children, Big Challenges” is an initiative by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit responsible for “Sesame Street”, to help parents and caretakers navigate their children through the difficult terrain of divorce.
The initiative provides resources like videos, tips, and activities for kids ages 2-8. The resources are an excellent place for fathers to find information and tools for discussing divorce with their children.
Tough topics aren’t new to the kid’s show. The Sesame Street blog released a statement saying:
“Sesame Street has never shied away from taking on tough topics. If it’s a challenge young children face in their lives, it’s a challenge Sesame Street would like to help them weather. Over the years we have tackled everything from the death of a loved one to helping children through challenging economic times. And now Sesame Workshop is providing tools and resources to help children and parents stay resilient during divorce and separation.”
This isn’t the first time “Sesame Street” has tackled the topic of divorce. In the early 80’s, the children’s show tested a script that found Snuffleupagus (Snuffy) coping with the divorce of his parents. The 1980’s script was scrapped after it performed poorly with test audiences.
The marked difference between Snuffy’s story and the new script featuring Abby Cadabby is perspective. As opposed to Snuffy’s story where he was going through his parent’s divorce, Abby’s story reflects back on the divorce and shows children that it is possible to accept divorce and feel loved by both mom and dad.
Fathers play a vital role in their children’s lives. Discussing your divorce with your children at the appropriate time and place can begin to lay a foundation of open communication and help build trust and stability during a tumultuous time. Helping your kids to process and talk about their emotions will build important bonds that will help you stay connected to your children.