A few months ago Sesame Street introduced a new character to the cast of friendly monsters. Julia made headlines on the educational series because the four-year-old has autism.
Now there’s Rudy, Abby Cadabby’s step-brother. According to the story line, Abby’s mother is marrying Rudy’s dad, making way for Sesame Street’s first blended family.
The new characters give young viewers a chance to learn about different kinds of families. It shows kids that siblings can come from different parents. You don’t have to be born a family; you can make a family, too.
The monsters made an appearance on The Today Show recently, and this is how Abby explained it: "All of us come from different places, right? But we all have some things in common ... We have soccer in common!”
This story line resonated with me, even though my kids stopped watching Sesame Street years ago. My fiancé and I have been working toward this goal of blending families for years. We’ve taken everything into consideration and are constantly trying to work through each new issue that presents itself. We have different extended families, house rules, schedules, discipline techniques, routines and traditions. Blending families isn’t easy—it’s a process and it can take years for relationships to cement.
In Canada, 12.6 percent of all families are step-families. According to experts, this data reflects one of the most significant changes in Canada's population over the last four decades.
All this is to say I’m definitely not the only one facing this issue. I hope Abby and Rudy can let other kids know that a blended family is just as legitimate as a family that’s intact. It might take more work or present different challenges, but that’s perfectly normal and okay.