For the past two years, researchers, writers and producers from Sesame Workshop have been working on a segment to tackle divorce directly.
"We want kids to understand that they're not alone, and that it's not their fault," Lynn Chwatsky, Sesame Workshop's vice president of outreach initiatives, said.
The project will star Abby Cadabby, a sparkly pink fairy whose parents have been divorced for a while. The segment will be 13 minutes long and part of a multimedia kit titled Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce. The kit will also include a storybook, a guide for parents and an app.
"These kids love and adore Abby. So to know that she's going through something similar to them, something challenging, it's like, 'Wow. It makes it O.K. to have a whole range of feelings,'" Chwatsky added.
Sesame Street first attempted to broach the subject back in 1992 with Mr. Snuffleupagus. But after testing the segment on preschoolers, it became clear that the message had an adverse effect as the children became worried Snuffy wasn't loved and that perhaps their own parents would divorce. The segment was immediately axed before making it to air.
This time around, testing was much more positive. "It made me feel happy, because Abby told Gordon a lot of her mixed feelings," one child said. "It's not her fault," another added.
"This isn't an easy topic, but that's the beauty of Muppets," Chwatsky said. "They can do things that even some grown-ups can't."
See a sneak peek of the segment below:
- Family & Relationships
- Abby Cadabby
- Sesame Workshop