Monday, December 10, 2012

Narrative Therapy: Divorce

Thanks to Sesame Street for producing this tool kit about divorce.  Preschoolers need resources to help them make sense of how they feel when Mommy and Daddy live in two separate homes.  Here's a great quote from this Tumblr post about all the hard work that went into the production of the episode:

“I think the biggest challenge for parents is that they are overwhelmed themselves,” says Robert Hughes, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and one of four independent consultants who advised on the project. “So it’s managing their own emotions, and then figuring out how to deal with their children’s emotions. That’s where Sesame Street comes in — it gives you a tool.”

But it's not just preschoolers who need help figuring out how they feel about their parent's separation.

I recommend the Robert Redford film Oridinary People to teens or young adults struggling with a family breakup.  And for more mature adults, I recommend Anne Tyler's masterpiece Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, about what happens to a family when the father leaves and the mother refuses to acknowledge his absence.  Really powerful book.  One of my top-five favorite books of all time.  

I was twenty-one when my parents (finally) divorced.  A legal adult.  Books and music got me through it.  Get me though it.  Because growing up in an unhappy home is nothing you just get over when you're grown up.  But finding meaning in it helps your spirit grow.  I most easily find meaning while immersed in great stories with empathetic characters.  Narrative therapy is good for the soul.