Divorced Parenting Classes

sweebyNovember 11, 2008

Anyone ever heard of these?

I mean, do they even exist?

And if they do exist, and a judge had ordered you and Ex to attend one before granting your divorce, do you think it would have made a difference?

There are classes to help couples prepare for marriage, for childbirth, and for raising children -- Why not classes to help two parents (who presumably hate each other at that time) learn how to get past their hatred and anger for the best of their children?

What do you think?

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I was forced to go before the divorce was final but ex got to get out of it because he was in the military at the time. I do not think that it helped me any. I think that a few classes are not going to eliminate the resentment and hurt that accompany most divorces. Many people decide to be grown up about the situation but I do not feel that it has anything to do with the class but the decision that they make for theirselves and their children. Personally, I am more apt to get along with ex and SM because of the bs that my own mother put me through after she and my father divorced.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 4:35PM
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Yes, they do exist, and no, it would not have made a difference.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 4:46PM
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A while ago, I posted about a cooperative parenting class DH and I took. The class is usually taken after divorce when the parents can't get along and teaches to focus on the kids. It should be mandatory before divorce or in initial custody cases where there was no marriage. The problem is that, unless the parties can control their emotions all the time, it's an ongoing process. We took the class and it's still hard when emotions get going and heated. When only one party takes the class or makes the effort, I think it makes it harder for the one because you can only go so long with someone trying to push your buttons. It takes so much patience and tolerance to ignore that sometimes.

It would be nice if all parents wanted what was best for their kids, more than they want to make the other pay for things they've done.

We took parenting after divorce and steppfamilies. Both were good. (The instructor we had will allow us to take the class again, as a refresher, whenever it's offered for free. We're definitely planning to)

Here is a link that might be useful: active parenting classes

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 5:07PM
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Sadly, I have to agree with the more cynical doubts about how useful it can be when there's already bitterness. I suppose it could be a help, though, to people who aren't really bitter but more like clueless (which ends up becoming bitter later and doing just as much ---if not more--- damage). Because I think there are plenty of cases of that scenario: everyone thinks everything's fine and has lofty ideals but comes to find that their lofty ideals don't match their ex-partner's lofty ideals, or their current partner's lofty ideals, or reality in general. Those folks get the bitterest, perhaps, because they feel like they have been the victims of cruel fate. When really, if they had just paused to think about things from a more objective view (or had a professional pointing things out for them to consider) they would have realized the choices that they indeed have, be more empowered and less likely to blame others for any self-perceived "victim" status. (This is applicable to any/all sides of the divorce/remarriage/blended family situation.) Certainly, the kids would be better off if there was some mandatory preliminary "basics" covered before blending. Really, the whole blended family would. So in that regard, I don't think it cold hurt and it might really help some people as far as pre-empting later crap.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 5:32PM
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A parenting after divorce class is mandatory in Louisiana before a divorce can be granted. Louisiana also automatically grants joint custody unless one party can convince the judge that it really would be bad for the children.

As an interesting fact, Since Louisiana mandated joint physical and legal custody as the default option, the divorce rate in Louisiana has dropped to one of the lowest in the United states.

My ex and I were divorced in ONtario, Canada. There was no parenting class requirement there. I did not take one. He did. It didnt help him, as he still made every mistake in the book for the first few years because he was so angry. I did, however, find a good Christian psychologist, and took the entire family into family therapy, that lasted for over three years before we finally felt good enough to stop. When I got serious about my current husband, he joined in several family therapy sessions. All the kids, and both of us attended them, and believe me, no punches were pulled.

IN fact, we still go twice a year for a family therapy checkup, only now its done by telephone conference since our therapist is back in ONtario. Therapy made a huge huge difference for us. I am a big believer in a professional psychologist who specializes in marriage and family counselling. I think they take the scary out of a new lifestyle for eveyrone and they help family members to understand the reasons behind the actions of the others.

NO one should have to adjust to single parenthood/blended familyhood, alone. Therapy, or possibly a parenting class can be huge help in the adjustment as long as everyone feels safe enough to say what they really think, and is willing to examine their role in the way things are.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 5:36PM
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I'd agree that a parenting class is like therapy.. it is only going to be effective if you want it to be. It's like making an alcoholic go to AA. They have to want help to accept help.

But, I will say that sometimes getting an instructor that is good and can say (over & over if necessary) to the parents "SHUT UP!!!! THIS IS ABOUT YOUR KIDS, NOT YOU!!!!" and if it gets through so the parent can step back and realize they are hurting their kids, it would be beneficial. Of course the parent has to want what's best for the kids, but sometimes having someone (counselor, therapist, judge or parenting class instructor) say "wake up, you are hurting your kids with your anger & bitterness!" might help. Not everyone will listen, but some might and for that reason, it should be mandatory. Just as mediation is mandatory in many jurisdictions. Educating parents on how conflict hurts the kids is better than ignoring the problem. You may only reach a few parents who will 'get it', but it's better than none.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 6:00PM
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I had to take a cooperative parenting class when I went to court with DD's bio-dad. She was 1 year old at the time. We live in different states and he was supposed to take the eqivalent class in his state.

I went to my course, paid for it and all. When we went into court for settlement, he had never gone to his.

It didn't matter. That was almost 6 years ago and he hasn't seen her at all.

It was pretty much a joke, if I remember correctly. A lot of common sense stuff about speaking to each other in a respectful tone, not putting kids in the middle, etc.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 6:25PM
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As part of the divorce our daughter and soon to be EX had to go to parenting classes. Unfortunately he didn't get much out of it and apparently argued much of the advice.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 7:27PM
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"It was pretty much a joke, if I remember correctly. A lot of common sense stuff about speaking to each other in a respectful tone, not putting kids in the middle, etc."

Ahh, but the thing is, this sort of information is NEW to many people.
In grade nine Lifestyles class, we learned good ways to deal with disagreements and so on... Things like
- Don't raise your voice
- Don't gunnysack (bring up old issues that don't relate to the problem at hand)
- Do it when all parties are sober and able to focus on the problem
- Use "I statements" or "When you do that, I feel this, because..."
- Even if you don't agree, the other party's opinion is valid and deserves to be acknowledged
- Don't interrupt
It all seemed like common sense to me... but I know people who actually had to STUDY this stuff! And the marks on that exam, whew!, I guess it wasn't common sense to everyone...

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 7:27PM
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It probably would have helped me -- but only because I was open to the advice they would have given. Yeah, the obvious. In my case, I think it would also have really frustrated me because my Ex would not have followed any of the advice had it gone against his self-interests. As things worked out, I DID drag him to counseling on several occasions to 'work through' issues pertaining to parenting. Well actually, I drug him into counseling because I knew the counselor would agree with me, but that he might find a better way to communicate it to Ex. Sometimes it worked - a little. Other times, it just made me more sure I was right and more sure he was an a$$. Those times fueled my anger.

But one area where it really did help was when the counselors asked us both to bring our spouses. Ex made his typical a$$ of himself, but his wife, my son's stepmother, was able to see it very clearly and in context. She saw how I really tried to work things out, to compromise, to be diplomatic, aware of his feelings, etc. -- and how little good that did me. (I was on my best behavior, after all.) And after that, she worked with me and between the two 'moms', we developed a pattern where she and I would discuss the issue, brainstorm, reach and agreement -- then she would either present it to Dad as her suggestion or neglect to inform him at all if that worked. Unconventional, I know. But it works for us, and most of all, for our son.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2008 at 8:02PM
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We were very determined to get along after divorce and we always had very similar expectations of parenting and children and we have similar life style, so there was no need for that type of class. in situations where exspouses cannot stand each other i do not see how this type of class would help. My BF and his X wouldn't even be in the same room especially in a divorce process, i couldn't imagine how people, who so don't get along, can attend the same class. don't want to be cynical, but I don't see it working. i however see it working for new couples who enter blended family. they are hopefully getting along enough to sit through the class. lol

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 3:50PM
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finedreams, they don't usually recommend both parents attend the class at the same time. They do suggest taking the same class, but at different times for several reasons.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2008 at 9:25PM
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oh I assumed it is together. it would be a recipe for disasters haha separatelly, yes it could beneficial some people.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 11:02AM
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i mean it could benefit some people.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2008 at 11:03AM
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