Co-Parenting After Divorce (page 2)

Co-Parenting After Divorce

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Updated on May 21, 2014

Do the classes work? Garon says the NFRC not only sees very positive results, but points out that the Center has many clients who return for assistance during new family transitions. She stresses that letting parents know the intention of co-parenting classes, and giving them support to continue learning about how divorce effects children is very important. "A 6-hour, 12-hour, however many-hour parent education program you have, doesn't create permanent change, " she states. "It creates a wonderful new mindset which includes explanations of what children are going through, and many strategies to cope with anger, communication skills and developing parenting agreements."

Gould-Saltman agrees that providing parents with the tools to communicate better with each other is important, but isn't so sure about the accountability of such programs. Because of confidentiality rules, in most states, parents are required to prove to the court that they've attended sessions, but the facilitators don't provide any information about whether they put in the work. "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it spill its deepest, darkest secrets," quips Gould-Saltman.

And what about those who feel singled out simply because they're divorced parents? It's a valid point. Though Gould-Saltman points out that parents who are mourning the loss of a relationship may not be the most attentive parents, we probably can't expect them to be during that transition. It's when courts see ongoing impact on children that it becomes a problem. "If they continue to be inefficient parents then we have to do something about it," notes Gould-Saltman. "I don't think, though , that you can put a lot more onus on people just because they happen to be divorced than you do people who are an intact family."

The bottom line is that whether parents are offended by the notion of attending classes or not, the courts' intentions are sound. Garon reminds us to focus on the positive. It's about trying to make life easier for children. By teaching parents ways to communicate with each other, children are possibly even spared the court deciding their living arrangements--many people who take co-parenting classes end up reaching out-of-court custody agreements. And, they're getting support when they need it most. "The information we all are teaching and the skills are meant to support the parents remaining involved in the most responsible, loving way," says Garon.

For more information visit the National Family Resiliency, Inc. at

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