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Mister Rogers and Uncontested Divorce

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 15-Jul-2013

Sesame Street came out with a website that helps children and parents through uncontested divorce. Yet, many are unaware that Mister Rogers tackled the subject of divorce first, through his television show. When the general climate thought of the word "divorce" as taboo, Mister Rogers (Fred Rogers) reassured children that divorce was an acceptable topic to talk about.

On a clip from his show, the mailman, Mr. McFeely, stops by for a delivery and quickly leaves after Mister Rogers brings up the subject of divorce. Mister Rogers lets his viewing audience know that some people may feel uncomfortable talking about divorce, but it was all right to speak about it.

He goes on to tell children that divorce is not their fault. Through his explanation he tells children divorce is an adult decision just like marriage and having babies. Mister Rogers gives an example of a girl and a boy who cried about their parents' divorce, but shared with his viewers that they didn't have to cry about feeling guilty for the divorce.

Fred Rogers' legacy lives on. One of the tools available for parents is helpful hints for separated or divorced parents on his website, The Fred Rogers Company. Concerns for children are posted with tips on how to help children emotionally navigate through uncontested divorce. Subjects such as "who will take care of them now that their parents are divorcing" are explored

Another support item for children whose parents are going through an uncontested divorce is Rogers' book Let's Talk About It: Divorce. The book is a wonderful tool for parents wanting to help their young children navigate their fears about divorce. The book's material covers everything from letting children knowing that the divorce is not their fault, to the fact that they cannot make their parents get married again. Let's Talk About It: Divorce has been a favorite of children and great starting point for parents to open up communication with their kids.

A divorce DVD is available, Mister Rogers Talks About Divorce. One of the helpful qualities about his show and DVD, is that Mr. Rogers doesn't talk down to children, but meets them where they are and talk to them as an adult who cares.

Mister Rogers is a native of Pennsylvania, having been born in Latrobe (outside of Pittsburgh). Oddly enough, he went into television because he didn't like it. Mister Rogers wanted to change television, and he even gave historic court testimony on having government fund children's television.

His recognition was immense. Some of the honors he received include: The Peabody Award, Presidential Medal of Freedom and over forty honorary degrees. Pennsylvania also has several buildings and artworks dedicated to Mister Rogers.