INNOVATIVE PROGRAM FOR DIVORCED PARENTS OFFERED
Joanna M. Shaw and Suzie Lauer announce a valuable new opportunity for divorced or divorcing parents. Beginning April 17, 2018, the Cooperative Parenting and Divorce program will lead parents to a collaborative divorce where children are protected from parental conflict and learn to establish positive, long-term relationships as “co-parents.”
Joanna M. Shaw, a licensed professional mediator with JMS Law, and Suzie Lauer will be leading the Cooperative Parenting and Divorce program at 80 Worsley St. in Barrie for parents in the Barrie and surrounding area. “We are excited to be able to offer this program,” say Shaw and Lauer. “It will help divorced parents disengage, while making things better for their children.”
Cooperative Parenting and Divorce is a nine-week class which combines video, activities, and group discussion to help parents refocus their attention on their children, rather than on each other. The class meets once weekly, and divorced parents are encouraged to take the class at the same time.
Program authors Susan Boyan and Ann Marie Termini are family therapists who were inspired to create the groundbreaking video-and-discussion program after observing the harmful effects of divorce on their child clients. Rather than attempt to “fix” the children, Boyan and Termini decided to go to the source of the problem: quarreling parents. “When people are in love, they see only the positive traits of the other person,” says Boyan. “Then, when they are no longer in love, the opposite often happens, and they can no longer see any good in the other person. It becomes all or nothing.” Unfortunately for the children—who still love both parents—a great deal of psychological damage can occur during this time if the parents behave badly in front of them.
Using video, activities, and group discussion, Shaw and Lauer will guide parents through eight collaborative divorce steps:
Step 1: Making the Commitment to Caring
Parents learn to recognize parental hostility and discover how conflict affects their child’s development.
Step 2: Allowing My Child to Love Both Parents
Parents learn to create two homes, minimize stress at transitions, and make it a positive experience for their child.
Step 3: Changing My Long-Term Role
Parents discover how their anger and bitterness keeps them emotionally attached to one another, and learn ways to let go.
Step 4: Choosing My Personal Path
Parents clarify their personal choices and identify a personal path. The term “realignment” is introduced to assist parents in creating a new role as co-parents.
Step 5: Managing My Own Anger
Parents determine what anger is, its signals and triggers, constructive versus destructive anger and the consequences of harboring anger.
Step 6: Taking Control of Conflict
Parents examine the cycle of conflict and practice defusing or resolving conflict.
Step 7: Negotiating Agreement
Problem-solving techniques and business relationship skills are examined from a divorced parent’s position.
Step 8: Co-Parenting Is Forever
Parents review their commitment to care, to be child-focused, to practice good communication and negotiation skills.