A divorce can be one of the most difficult events in a person’s life. Spouses separating and dividing assets and debts can be a challenge. Lawyers are there to aid adults with these property issues. However, explaining to your children why you are getting a divorce and how your child’s life will change can be heart breaking and there is no exact playbook on how to tackle these issues.

When going through a divorce in Texas, most Courts order parents to attend a parenting class so that the adults can learn how to co-parent during and after the divorce.   However, not much guidance is given to parents on how to explain the topic of divorce to their children. 

Sesame Street has taken on the topic of divorce for children ages 2 – 8 in a series entitled “Little Children: Big Challenges” which features sixteen short videos on their website www.sesamestreet.org/divorce .

Sesame Street has been on television for forty years and has tackled numerous subjects such as marriage and death but has not discussed the topic of divorce until now.   In 1992, Sesame Street attempted to discuss divorce but the episode ultimately never aired. Divorce is more prevalent now than in 1992 and opinions on divorce and education regarding divorce have become more accepting over the last 20 years. The clips begin with the character, Abby Cadabby, whose parents are divorcing.   Abby explains what divorce is, her feelings and how she now lives in two houses, one with her mother and one with her father.

As part of the series “Little Children: Big Challenges,” there are Sesame Street videos that deal with actual children. Chase, a ten year old boy, is featured in two clips. Chase discusses how his life is now that his parents are divorced and how the divorce makes him feel. Victoria is another little girl who talks about how her life has changed and what it is like to no longer live with her father. Victoria talks about her feelings and how she has a network of family members that have helped her during and after her parents’ divorce. 

The Sesame Street divorce videos have been receiving a lot of press in recent days. Denise Albert from the Huffington Post has been blogging about her experiences as she goes through her own divorce. Denise Albert: Divorce Diaries. Ms. Albert details how she and her Husband told their children that they were going to divorce. Ms. Albert also showed the Sesame Street divorce videos to her children and was inspired by the fact that the Sesame Street videos gave her children an understanding of what they were going through as well as giving other children an understanding of what her own children may be going through. I have read Denise Albert’s blog and have also watched all sixteen clips of the Sesame Street divorce videos. I agree with the approach Ms. Albert has taken in showing her children the Sesame Street divorce videos. There are not enough outlets for children when it comes to understanding divorce and the feelings that come with it. Sesame Street is one of the most identifiable resources to children. The fact that Sesame Street is addressing the issue of divorce makes the topic less taboo as well as helps a child from feeling isolated from their classmates and family during and after a divorce. 

The Sesame Street videos are wonderful aids to divorcing or divorced families as well as to all children. Whether a child comes from a divorced home or not, a child will inevitably know a classmate whose parents are divorced. The Sesame Street videos bring knowledge and understanding of divorce to all children regardless of their family dynamics.

The Sesame Street divorce videos are not shown on television but are free online and are also available on iTunes.

 

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.