In a ground breaking segment on their online section Sesame Street’s new character Karli confides in Elmo and their human friend Chris that her mom has a problem. Chris tries to explain to Elmo that Karli’s mom is "having a hard time" and goes to meetings to "help her get better."
Karli and Chris uses words that are designed to be manageable for children, explaining to Elmo, “my mom needs help learning to take better care of herself so she talks to people with the same problem” and that she attends meetings with other "parents [that] all have the same problem."
In another segment, Karli meets a young girl called Salia whose "mom and dad have the same problem as my mom—addiction."
"When my mom was having a hard time I had lots of big feelings, I felt like I was the only one. But now I've met other kids like Salia and we can talk about it together," Karli says, introducing a clip of Salia, 10, talking about her parents' addiction.
"Addiction is a sickness, addiction is getting attracted to something so you keep doing it over and over again. It makes people feel like they need drugs and alcohol to feel OK," explains Salia.
"Addiction is often seen as a 'grown-up' issue, but it impacts children in ways that aren't always visible. Having a parent battling addiction can be one of the most isolating and stressful situations young children and their families face," said Sherrie Westin, president of social impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop, in a statement. "Sesame Street has always been a source of comfort to children during the toughest of times, and our new resources are designed to break down the stigma of parental addiction and help families build hope for the future."
Helping kids cope with parental addiction can break the cycle of addiction. It’s so important to provide outlets we’re kids feel safe and secure to express their feelings without them having to condemn their parents.
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