Updated Lists of Programs and Resources for Parents

In the last few weeks I have received several requests about where to find programs for divorcing couples and stepfamilies.  There is a growing list of very good online resources and programs.  You can see my lists of these resources here:

Programs for Divorcing Parents

Programs & Onine Material for Children & Teens Whose parents are divorced


Jennifer Aniston : Talks to Young People about coping with her parents’ divorce

Two minutes of advice by Jennifer Aniston about the challenges of dealing with her parents’ divorce.


Split: Children’s Views on Divorce– New Resource

Split Trailer – splitfilm.org from ellen bruno on Vimeo.

Sesame Street Divorce taking Questions




Do you have questions for Sesame Street about divorce?

Abby Cadabbby and her friend Rocio Galarza (Senior Director of Outreach & Content Design for Sesame Workshop) will be answering YOUR questions in a video segment recording tomorrow!

We will be posting the video online next week, but right now, we need to hear from you.

If you, your colleagues, your friends, or your children have a question for Abby Cadabby or Rocio, you can email it to us at divorce@sesame.org.

Please include along with your question your first name, age (optional!), and hometown so we can give you a shout out if your question is picked.

We will write you back directly to let you know if Abby and Rocio answer your question on video.

Spread the word and start sending in those questions!

Children Living with Cohabitating Parents, Europe 2010

Rates of cohabitation vary widely in Europe.  In general, the northern countries have higher rates of cohabitation.  The chart below illustrates the percentage of children that are growing up in households with cohabitating parents.  (Note: The percentage of children living with cohabitating parents in the US is 2.9%.)
Percent of Children living wih co-habitating parents Europe 2010

For more data about European families go to OECD Statistics.

Split: A Documentary on Children’s Reaction to Divorce

Due to be released soon, Split, an exploration of children’s journeys through divorce looks like an insightful examination of children’s feelings about divorce.  It is so important to hear children’s voices in understanding divorce.  Vicki Larson published an excellent interview with the producer of the movie, Emily Bruno on Huffington Post.

Donations to support the movie are begin accepted until Dec 17, 2012.

New Resource for Parents and Children from Sesame Street


Sesame Workshop has just released a new set of resources, called Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce to help parents to their young children (ages 2-8) about divorce issues.  There are both interesting online and hands-on materials.

This is part of a series of programs created by Sesame Workshop to focus on fostering resilience in young children.  This work was commissioned and supported by the US Defense Department to support military families.

The Divorce materials include:

  • A new Sesame Street DVD, featuring the Muppets and real families, that highlights strategies around expressing emotions and how to talk to children about divorce;
  • A Parent/Caregiver Guide providing helpful resources, language and advice for discussing divorce with children and helping them navigate changes;
  • A Children’s Storybook, Two-Hug Day, about a young boy named Niko who is transitioning between his parents’ two homes, and
  • An online toolkit at sesamestreet.org/divorce providing access to all project resources, as well as additional online-only materials:
    • An Extended Family & Friends tip sheet
    • Webinars and online discussion sessions giving service providers and families a thorough understanding of how to engage with their families and communities
    • A Facebook page called Sesame Street in Communities connecting our online community to Sesame’s resiliency messages and materials.
    • A mobile app: Sesame Street: Divorce, featuring resources and tools for parents and caregivers; available on the App Store (SM) and Google Play ™.

Challenges in Providing Information to Children about Divorce

This Time magazine story recounts the challenges faced by Sesame Street in designing messages and information about divorce.  It is not easy figuring out the right messages for children and the right moments to communicate with children.

Children Living with Divorced Mothers and Fathers 1960 – 2011

This graph shows the changes in the number of children living with divorced mothers and fathers from 1960-2011.  The data are provided in “thousands” In 1960, 1,210,000 (1.2 million) children were living with their divorced mothers.  This number grew until the early 1990s almost 6 million children in 1999 and has declined or leveled off for the past decade.  In 2011 5,508,000 children lived with their divorced mothers.

The number of children living with divorced fathers is much smaller, but has been increasing over the past 50 years.  In 1960, only 129,000 children were living with their divorced fathers.  This number of children living with divorced fathers peaked in 2006 at 1,495,000 (1.49 million) children and has been declining since then.  In 2011 1,238,000 (1.23 million) children lived with their divorced fathers.

These data are provided by the US Census Bureau.  The original data are provided at this link. 

You can find other demographic data about divorce and marriage here.

Genes matter less for children of divorce

Scientists have long known that development is a combination of genes and the environment.  There is growing evidence that the nature of the environment allows or prevents genes from guiding development.  Sylvan Robbers and colleagues recently published a study that examined the degree to which genetic or environmental factors played a bigger role in children’s internalizing (e.g., depression) or externalizing (e.g., aggression)  behaviors following the divorce of their parents.  The results indicate that the behavior of children whose parents are divorced were more influenced by environmental factors than children whose parents were not divorced.  This finding reminds us how powerful and important parents and other caregivers are in influencing postdivorce adjustment.


Robbers, S., van Oort, F., Huizink, A., Verhulst, F., van Beijsterveldt, C., Boomsma, D., & Bartels, M. (2012) Childhood problem behavior and parental divorce: Evidence for gene–environment interaction  Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology doi:10.1007/s00127-011-0470-9  Full Paper