Class helps co-parents deal with their issues | SILive.com: "Class helps co-parents deal with their issues
By Elise G. McIntosh
February 25, 2010, 4:03PM
Feuding with your co-parent? The New York Center for Interpersonal Development has just the class for you.
Parent A.C.T. (Assisting Children through Transition), the Staten Island component of the state-run Parent Education and Awareness Program, is designed to educate divorcing or separating parents about the impact of their breakup on their children.
The primary goal of the program is to teach parents ways they can reduce the stress of family changes and protect their children from the negative effects of ongoing parental conflict.
'The main themes of the program are to help parents reduce conflict through better communication and conflict-resolution skills and gain more awareness on how putting children in the middle can negatively affect them,' said Regina Shields, coordinator of the class.
The workshop is offered either as a six-hour class on Saturdays or two three-hour classes during weekday evenings.
Ms. Shields also said the class can help parents acknowledge all the negative emotions they are feeling after a drawn-out divorce process.
'Next to death, this is the most traumatic experience a family can go through,' she said, noting parents may be so focused on their own feelings of frustration, guilt, blame and depression that they forget their kids are suffering just the same. Ms. Shields said this realization is a 'real eye-opener' for co-parents.
Communication also is a big focus of the class. Participants learn about active listening, speaking calmly, 'I' statements – 'all the things that can really help de-escalate the conflict quickly,' she said.
The class also helps participants identify their goals as co-parents.
'Nine out of 10 times people are much happier and come out of the class understanding the situation much better,' said Ms. Shields.
For more information or to enroll in the class, call 718-947-4048. The cost is $100; there is a sliding scale fee."