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Separated or Divorced Families

Divorce is a major transition in children's lives with nearly 40% of all children experiencing the divorce of their parents (National Institute of Mental Health, 2002). Children are affected as families change and family structure change. In the United States, more than 1 million children still experience the divorce of their parents each year (U.S Bureau of the Census, 1995) and 20 million children live with just one parent (U.S Bureau of the Census, 1998).

More often than not, children do not know what to do or how to recover from such an event, a characteristic that may help a child adjust to change is known as resilience. Resilience is not an innate characteristic, but one that develops with experience and age. Hawkins and Fackrell (2009) have suggested that a child's temperament makes a difference in how that child adapts to divorce. Specifically, less resilient children were more likely to adjust poorly to the stresses, changes, and losses that usually accompany divorce. In contrast, strong or resilient children exhibited an agreeable tendency that resulted in adjustment that was more positive. It is important to consider carefully the characteristic of children that might indicate that they will have a harder time adjusting to divorce (Hawkins & Fackrell, 2009).

The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of the Sesame Street's multimedia toolkit - Little Children, BIG Challenges: Divorce and Separation - in helping parents communicate about divorce and separation to their children and build resilience in children.

If interested, please contact Dr. Geraldine Oades-Sese and the Sesame Street Resilience Team at (732) 344-0819 or e-mail