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Sesame street to teach kids about divorce

by Steven Haninger / December 11, 2012 7:51 PM PST
http://now.msn.com/sesame-street-to-air-segment-about-divorce

Without seeing it, I don't think that puppets should be teaching kids about reality. It may be better than nothing at all but I can't imagine it to be a good substitute for proper adult discussion by the parents. It's not going to be easy to talk about one way or the other but passing the buck to the TV isn't the solution, IMO. "Sorry kids, we're splitting up. If you want know how to deal with it, the Muppets know better than we do." Sad
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(NT) Divorce IS reality
by JP Bill / December 11, 2012 8:21 PM PST
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Re: sorry kids
by Kees_B Forum moderator / December 11, 2012 8:45 PM PST

"Sorry kids, we're splitting up. Just like the parents of Jessica and Michael and Deborah, you know" (or who-ever of their friends or nephews have divorced parents).

Kees

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IF you had kids...and divorce wasn't in your/their future
by JP Bill / December 11, 2012 8:51 PM PST

would you bring up the subject of divorce, unless your kid asked or exhibited some behaviour patterns that made you curious?

Some kids that have divorced parents are picked on by kids with parents that are happily married. Unless the parents bring the subject up, the child may not realize that divorce can happen to anyone....AND all parents aren't smarter than the average Muppet.

Don't think the kids don't know someone that has divorced/seperated parents...this may help them understand what is going on.

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I said I've not seen the show
by Steven Haninger / December 11, 2012 9:19 PM PST

I guess you've either seen it or support it without even reviewing it.

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Do you have a different scenario?
by JP Bill / December 11, 2012 10:48 PM PST

If you can condemn it without seeing it, why can't I support it without seeing it?

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I didn't condemn the show
by Steven Haninger / December 12, 2012 3:36 AM PST

I expressed that I was not in favor of kids learning about such serious and emotional matters from puppets. They should learn from the mouth and eyes of adults. Sesame Street isn't the first kid's show to tackle this. Mr. Rogers took this one on and, if I might say so, did a very decent job. He's a human and, in some instances, connecting with a human is far better than trying to connect with puppets and costumed characters.

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RE; I didn't condemn the show
by JP Bill / December 12, 2012 4:06 AM PST

That's right, you didn't condemn the show. You said

"I don't think that puppets should be teaching kids about reality."

Unfortunately the "show" is made up of a bunch of puppets.

The puppets talk in "kidspeak" (whinny voice...not gruff and overbearing) unlike most adults. (Except for The Cookie Monster)

I didn't condemn the show I expressed that I was not in favor of kids learning about such serious and emotional matters from puppets. They should learn from the mouth and eyes of adults.

Those aren't really the puppets words you know...the words are written and spoken by adults.

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So you take exception to me and my wording
by Steven Haninger / December 12, 2012 4:38 AM PST

but have nothing to say about the subject. So be it.

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RE: but have nothing to say about the subject. So be it.
by JP Bill / December 12, 2012 5:02 AM PST

As I've already said.

Some kids that have divorced parents are picked on by kids with parents that are happily married. Unless the parents bring the subject up, the child may not realize that divorce can happen to anyone....AND all parents aren't smarter than the average Muppet.

Don't think the kids don't know someone that has divorced/separated parents...this may help them understand what is going on.


What I posted PREVIOUSLY, and now for a second time in bold, IS about the subject isn't it?

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LOL!
by James Denison / December 13, 2012 12:51 AM PST
"Some kids that have divorced parents are picked on by kids with parents that are happily married."

That may be the most ridiculous thing you ever have said, LOL. What do they call them? "Hey, you divorced kids!" "Guys, let's go harass those divorced kids!" Did you grow up out in the sticks as an only child or something and get your learning about life from some book written by a high school dropout, who was also a dismissed social services employee?! Kids pick on other children, older on younger, bigger on smaller, there's a myriad of excuses for them doing it, but the actual reasons are something entirely different. You cling to every excuse anyone could come up with for that I guess. Were you picked on and blamed it on your parents getting divorced?

It gets better;

"Unless the parents bring the subject up, the child may not realize that divorce can happen to anyone"

Yeah, when they hear it from their parents, that's when they usually find out about it, so far as it will affect them. You can be sure they've already heard about divorce though from other children who experienced it, which you admit in your first misguided statement.

And better and better, as we descend to the brainless level.

"AND all parents aren't smarter than the average Muppet."

Muppets aren't real. Muppets have no brains. Sorry to break this news flash to you, but way past time you realize it. What you mistake as their brains would be those who animate the Muppets. I suspect some of those are parents, too, so really don't see any point to what you said.
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You really don't know.....
by Josh K / December 13, 2012 1:05 AM PST
In reply to: LOL!

.....that kids of divorced parents sometimes get teased for it by other kids? Where did you grow up, on the set of "Leave it to Beaver?"

There's a kid in my daughter's class who was adopted by his uncle. We don't know why. Another kid in her class got sent to the principal's office for taunting him with "You got adopted by your uncle because your parents hate you."

Kids can be VERY cruel. Wake up, James.

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my parents were divorced
by James Denison / December 13, 2012 4:32 AM PST

Nobody ever said anything averse to me about it, other than my MIL once.

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If it doesn't happen to you
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 4:35 AM PST

it never happened to anyone?

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I never heard it for any kid while growing up
by James Denison / December 13, 2012 4:48 AM PST

I guess there were plenty of other more immediately seen and heard things for one kid to tease another about than that. Must have been a bigger teasing point up north than down South.

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RE; I never heard it for any kid while growing up
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 5:10 AM PST

Me neither.

You don't suppose it was because when WE were kids (back in the 90's) divorces were lot harder to get.

I know you weren't a kid in the 90's...

Most men are still "growing up" in their 60's...you've heard about divorce now.

Must have been a bigger teasing point up north than down South

It's not "where" you grew up, it's "when". The 1950's compared to the 2100's.

The times, they are a changing,...get with the program.

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Yes, kids can be cruel and in quite
by Steven Haninger / December 13, 2012 5:05 AM PST

a number of ways. Correcting this behavior is the responsibility of parents. If parents are felt to be lax, I don't see where puppets should take over their job. Kids can't retreat into fantasy land to find consolation and advice and I believe we've become remiss in our responsibilities by thinking that setting up alternative mechanisms is appropriate. IMO, there are some things that are not best taught over the TV and especially by non-humans. Granted the puppets are controlled by people, there's something missing in the communication when eye contact, facial expressions, and other body language is missing. I'd never quibble with kids and parents watching such programs together and discussing them but that's nothing that can be controlled.

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RE: there are some things that are not best taught
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 5:18 AM PST
there are some things that are not best taught over the TV

Then "as a good parent" you'll have the remote...and be supervising the viewing habits of your children...."as a bad parent" you will not be supervising the viewing habits of your children and Sesame Street will be doing a better job than you.
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As a good parent
by Steven Haninger / December 13, 2012 5:42 AM PST
you would be having these discussions with your children. You'd not need the remote. You are not a good parent if you leave the job to puppets. It's better than nothing" isn't a good alibi.
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RE: you would be having these discussions with your children
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 5:44 AM PST

WHEN?

You get up in the morning...sitting there with your kid...having breakfast and you start talking about divorce?

Why did you bring that up daddy?

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When??
by Steven Haninger / December 13, 2012 6:26 AM PST

Like anything else that's difficult, you initiate discussion with your child when the issue arises. You don't need to always think proactively. If your child mentions hearing of a divorce, that's the time to begin talking about it...not the next morning over breakfast. The term used is "teachable moment". The same goes when a child misbehaves and you want to set them straight. You do so right then and there and not the next day over breakfast.

Your "Why did you bring that up daddy?" question is perfect. The same would go for a kid who sits down in front of the TV, turns on Sesame Street, and watches a program discuss a subject he's never heard of. "What was that all about? Why did Elmo bring that up, daddy?"

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RE: you initiate discussion
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 11:15 AM PST
you initiate discussion with your child when the issue arises.

You can't have it both ways....Either you initiate or the issue arises.

Your "Why did you bring that up daddy?" question is perfect. The same would go for a kid who sits down in front of the TV, turns on Sesame Street, and watches a program discuss a subject he's never heard of. "What was that all about? Why did Elmo bring that up, daddy?"

The "issue" has arisen?
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RE: I suspect some of those are parents, too, so really do
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 3:47 AM PST
In reply to: LOL!
I suspect some of those are parents, too, so really don't see any point to what you said.

some of those ARE parents

SEE...The "point" was within your grasp...and you failed to connect, you poor soul, just think how intelligent you could appear if only you opened your eyes and ears.

The rest of your post?...

Sounds like someone sicced you on me, did I do something to your cornflakes today or to someone you care about?
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PS...As I said
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 4:13 AM PST
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sore point hit
by James Denison / December 13, 2012 12:45 PM PST

Sesame Street has bugged me before. This is just one more thing to come along it seems.

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Next will we hear
by Steven Haninger / December 13, 2012 7:50 PM PST
In reply to: sore point hit

that Elmo is doing a bit about the importance of condom use? One thing that bugs me in this thread is links to how careful the writers were being. Writers? What's so special about writers? What about actual parents, child development, and child psychology experts? I can kids affected both positively and negatively here. At the same time we are trying to help kids who have been affected, we're also introducing some kids to a subject they've no knowledge of. Though they'll eventually be introduced, why do some TV production people get to choose when the time is right?

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RE:What about actual parents, child development,
by JP Bill / December 13, 2012 7:57 PM PST
In reply to: Next will we hear

What about actual parents, child development, and child psychology experts?

So you and Sesame Street are in agreement.

Eventually, the head writer signs off on it, and the script gets typed up into our script template by our script coordinator. Then I proofread it, and clean copies are distributed to our Research department. The folks in Research all have Master's degrees and PhD's in education, child psychology, etc. Research will review each script and give their comments to our head writer, who has the ultimate power to veto anything (of course, if Research feels very strongly, they'll push hard.) I'll put those research comments that were approved into the script and then the producers will meet on the script.

One thing that bugs me in this thread is links to how careful the writers were being. Writers? What's so special about writers? What about actual parents, child development, and child psychology experts?

I guess you didn't read the entire thread/links....

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Re: condom use
by Kees_B Forum moderator / December 13, 2012 8:08 PM PST
In reply to: Next will we hear

That seems rather far-fetched, because it surely is off-topic for the target group of Sesame street.

But divorced parents (own or friends') or family (uncles, greatparents) are common enough, I think to warrant being a subject of the show. Not all things in life are pleasant. Think of seeing a doctor, going to the hospital, your favorite pet dying, not getting what you expect from Santa. And, indeed, divorce. But all are facts of live even small children can experience.

Kees

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Sesame Street isn't just about counting
by Josh K / December 11, 2012 9:50 PM PST

They have used the show to talk to kids about difficulties before. After 9/11 they did an episode in which the grocery store burns down as a way of talking to kids about sad things that happen.

Divorce is, unfortunately, a fact of life that millions of kids have to cope with. I see no harm in it being addressed on Sesame Street.

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My issue isn't about what's being discussed
by Steven Haninger / December 11, 2012 10:01 PM PST

It's about by whom and when. It's quite possible to cause more to disturb than to allay fear and sorrow. When you take a new puppy home to the delight of a child, you don't, right away, discuss that it will someday die.

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Perhaps it's best to watch it then....
by Josh K / December 11, 2012 10:03 PM PST

.....and see how they handle the subject. In the past they've tackled difficult issues very well.

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