• Nancy Burnett

Helping Children Cope with Divorce Part I

Evidence Based Parenting Practices that Help Children to Cope with Divorce

Divorce rates across the world are still very high. It is estimated that at least 1.5 million youth experience parental divorce. In America, at least 34% of children will be affected by the breakup of their parents’ marriage before the age of 16 years.

With the high prevalence of divorce, implementing effective coping interventions for children from divorced families could have significant benefits.

This article will look at some of the evidence-based interventions for helping children cope with divorce, and how parents can implement them during the transition period of divorce and separation.


1. Effective Parenting Program: The New Beginnings Program (NBP)

The New Beginnings Program is a parenting-focused intervention by Dr. Sharlene Wolchik that is geared towards helping divorcing and separating families.

It equips parents with quality parenting skills such as relationship building skills, communication skills, and helps them to make use of effective discipline and to keep their children out of the middle of the conflict. This program helps parents to promote children’s resilience.

When mothers and fathers give quality parenting, the children tend to adjust positively to parental divorce or separation.


2. Children of Divorce Intervention Program (CODIP)

The Children of Divorce Intervention Program (CODIP) is an evidence-based intervention that helps children to cope with divorce related problems in a group set-up. As a parent, ensuring that your children go through CODIP is important because it has several benefits for them that include:

· They are able to share how they feel about the divorce in a supportive environment, which reduces feelings of isolation.

· They are able to deal with unreaslistic perceptions and attitudes regarding the divorce such as fear of abandonment, feelings of responsibility for the divorce, and unreaslitic fantansies about restoring the marriage.

· It also enhances their coping mechanisms during the transition period. It helps the children gain a sense of control over circumstances that would otherwise make them feel helpless.

· The intervention program helps the children to modify risk and protective factors, including emotion regulation, problem-solving skills, and understanding of family changes, anxiety, internalizing problems, and stress-related physical symptoms.


3. Parent Education Programs

These are programs that are designed to help parents improve their children’s well-being following divorce. They help the parents change some aspects of parenting, and they target aspects of post-divorce parenting such as quantity of time spent with each parent, co-parenting and quality of parenting.

Parent education programs also equip parents with skills that enable them to structure their relationship in a way that is respectful and business-like for purposes of giving quality parenting. They help parents gain insights into what they can and cannot control, and the benefits of containing conflict and working together when it is safe to do so.


4. Court-Connected Parent Education Programs

Divorce education classes are designed to educate parents about the many issues or difficulties children face when their family situation changes. The program equips parents with skills of how to help children adjust to divorce in a healthy way, as well as how to live apart from a parent.

Divorce education programs authorized by courts are normally short-term and they are normally conducted for two to four hours. These programs can be done under the recommendation of a judge, or voluntarily.

The divorce and parenting education programs are important because they respond to the needs that are recognized both by the courts and by divorcing parents themselves.


COMING SOON....

PART II

Practices that Parents Can Adopt From the Evidence-Based Programs



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