The opioid crisis in America has affected people of all ages including young children. When mommies and daddies are unable to show up for their kids due to their addiction to drugs or alcohol, children get caught in the crossfire and have no idea how to cope. These minors suffer trauma and abuse that could cause them to repeat the same behaviors their parents displayed for them as well as become predisposed to developing an addiction themselves.
Knowledge is power and when appropriately informed, these children who are growing up in houses with addicted parents need to better understand what is going on so they can receive the support that is necessary. Sesame Street has developed a character on their show that could be extremely beneficial in helping children to relate and know that they have a way out of their adverse situation with some help.
In May, Sesame Street Workshop, which is the non-profit organization part of Sesame Street the show, produced yet another character named Karli who is in foster care because her mother is suffering from addiction. This sensitive circumstance is meant to teach young viewers empathy or let them know they are not alone. Children who endure parents with addiction believe life is normal and they deserve the adverse situations they are prone to encounter. Instead of getting help, they tend to become codependent on the relationship with their parents and enable their behavior to keep the family from being split up.
The topic of addiction typically also revolves around a stigma that keeps people from believing that this could happen to them. The stigma also wrongfully judges others who are believed to be derelicts rather than understanding they are addicted to drugs and alcohol and need help to stop. Sesame Street Workshop offers a video series called Sesame Street in Communities, an initiative to educate caregivers on how to talk to children about these sensitive issues with greater ease.
Karli’s videos on parental addiction introduce simple videos that show kids how they can cope with their parent’s drug and alcohol addiction. Even though puppets are used, the videos demonstrate real feelings and real ways to talk about the sensitive issues surrounding parental addiction. These videos also include the testimony of a little girl, Salia, who has recently walked through addiction with her parents and shares healthy tools to cope.
Kudos to Sesame Street for extending the talk of addiction to the kids who are suffering from the behaviors of their parents while giving parents the resources to age appropriately inform children about what addiction can do. If you need a way to help a child in your life, these videos are an excellent platform to provide a better future by gaining the knowledge being offered.
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