The beloved long-standing children's TV show, Sesame Street has decided to address and tackle the issue of parental addiction. It's been discovered 5.7 million children under the age of 11 live under the same roof as a parent that suffers with a substance abuse disorder. The goal of the creators and Sesame Street program as a whole is to help children understand this disorder that is addiction and teach them that they are not alone and help is there for them; help in the form of comfort, support, and love. The show uses the character Karli, who is the bright green and yellow haired best friend of Elmo, and explores her back story, which is that of having a mother who suffers with addiction. In an initiative that is part of the Sesame Street Communities online resources, Karli talks to another young girl, Salia, whose parents are in recovery. They did a series of three videos that address parental addiction. The first explains addiction, the second shares a helpful exercise in dealing with how addiction affects you and your family and what you see as a child, and the third is a helpful children's activity that uses art to express your feelings. Take a watch:
Senior Content Manager Kama Einhorn had this to say about addressing addiction: "There's nothing else out there that addresses substance abuse for young, young kids from their perspective. It's also a chance to model to adults a way to explain what they're going through to kids and to offer simple strategies to cope. Even a parent at their most vulnerable — at the worst of their struggle — can take one thing away when they watch it with their kids, then that serves the purpose."
Sesame Street is fearless in their effort to educate and help children. This issue of parental addiction is something that children feel is their fault and sometimes as a result they deal with feelings of shame, embarrassment, guilt, or even loneliness. Sesame Street is making an effort to support children during what can be a confusing and difficult time for them and I think their initiative is a great idea by them! You can visit the Sesame Street in Communities website HERE for more information and resources for coping with parental addiction.