Twenty years ago, beloved children's program ‘Sesame Street' was preparing to launch a somewhat controversial segment in which character Snuffy's parents were getting a divorce.
Birmingham divorce lawyers understand that back in 1992, a census report had indicated that almost 40 percent of children would soon live in divorced homes. It was carefully written, scripted, shot and revised. However, when it was screened by preschoolers weeks before it was to air nationally, it proved disastrous, leaving many children confused, crying and worried their own parents would split.
The episode was scrapped.
Now, two decades later, the show is trying again. This time with an upbeat puppet fairy whose parents, we learn, live in two different homes – but love her just the same.
The fact is, more than half of all marriages end in divorce. That's more than 1 million marriages across the country each year. Among divorces in which children are involved, and statistics show the splits often occur when children are in preschool.
One of the top concerns for parents who are separating is how the children will fare. The good news is that children of divorce not only survive it – they often thrive in environments where they receive ample support and both parents are happier – or at least more stable – in their separate lives.
Part of making that a reality is having an experienced and sensitive divorce and child custody lawyer to help guide you through the process, while helping to make decisions and fight for concessions that will be of most benefit to you and your children. These include not only the protection of certain assets, insurance benefits and support payments, but also custody and visitation schedules.
The newest Sesame Street episode was carefully planned with the help of many outside professional consultants, and feedback so far appears to be a success. We understand that parents often struggle with how to help their kids through the process because often they too are having a hard time coping. And you don't have an army of child psychologists walking you through the process.
To help your children adapt to the new reality, consider the following tips:
- Be honest with your kids. Of course, these explanations should be age appropriate, but children do need to understand that the divorce is not an issue that is up for discussion – and certainly you need to drive home the fact that none of this is their fault.
- While you can't protect your child from all of the hurt, you can keep them protected from your own anger and resentment toward your ex. Don't make them a confidant regarding your arguments or finances.
- Welcome questions. It can be tough at first because the emotions may still be raw for you, but it's important that children don't bury their feelings.
- Let your child in on the plan. Be upfront about things that will affect them before they happen. This includes custody arrangements, visitation schedules, moves or activities. Children will be able to better adjust if they have some time to process it all.
- Try to set consistent rules with your ex. This will help make the entire transition easier for everyone.
- Consider setting up counseling sessions for your child to allow a safe space to open up, without worry of alienation.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham or need help with child custody issues, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
‘Sesame Street' tackles the big ‘D,' Divorce, Dec. 12, 2012, By Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor