Parenting through divorce

Divorce is difficult for everyone. The divorcing couple is obviously affected emotionally, mentally, socially and perhaps financially. The extended family is faced with changes to their family traditions and structure. Close friends are faced with loyalty issues. And then there's the children.

Divorce can turn a child's life upside down, and in response to these changes, children often feel angry, sad, frustrated and guilty. Divorce can magnify children's needs and that is why children need safety, security and reassurance to successfully transition through divorce.

What children really want is the love and care of both parents. The child's well being must be made the No. 1 priority. If this can be realized, parents are better able to separate their issues from their child's needs.

Good parenting is essential for divorcing couples with children. Participation in a comprehensive parenting class is a positive first step. Parenting classes address different parenting styles, whether between a happily married couple, between a grandparent in the household and the parent(s), or even between roommates and the parent(s). It is difficult to implement post-divorce parenting practices if the couple is lacking in basic parenting skills.

Parenting-through-divorce workshops use the basic parenting skills to pave the way for the specific communication and negotiation strategies necessary for parenting a shared child. These workshops help parents to distinguish the issues that are really about parenting from the issues that are really about their relationship. Divorced couples will always be parents together despite new relationships, and it is important for children to see their parents working together and not in conflict over their needs. This is not an easy task following a divorce, and parents often need extra skills to be able to work together for their child's best interest.

Family Support Council is offering a two-session workshop, Parenting Through Divorce and Other Transitions, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Sept. 19 and Sept. 26. Financial Basics is also being offered as a one-session workshop, 6:30-8 p.m. Sept. 28. Pre-registration is required. Ask for Teri Clark at 782-8692, or e-mail for registration and information. Limited free childcare is provided.

Family Support Council is funded by private donations as well as grants from The Smallwood Foundation, Title XX, and Family-to-Family Connection.

n Teri Clark is the Parents and Children Together coordinator at the Family Support Council.


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