More than a million children this year alone will watch their parents divorce to find life as they knew it will never be the same. Studies have long shown that children are the most affected by divorce. A new program Avera McKennan is launching to help divorced couples be cooperative parents.
Heidi says, "My son Cole who is 9 is sensitive like his mother. He didn't really know what was going on because we basically picked up and left."
Her divorce was finalized in July and now this single mother is working hard to put the pieces back together. She credits the Avera McKennan Cooperative Parenting Program for helping her do that.
Heidi says, "It did help me get through the emotional turmoil I myself was going through so I could be strong and positive for my son."
Betty Barto-Smith is a certified family life educator through Avera McKennan. She tested the program on Heidi through a pilot program and will also be the instructor of the course. She says, "This doesn't deal with parents individual issues. It deals with helping children understand how it's going to be now and minimize the bad affects of divorce in their lives. It is all about the children and how to smooth the situation out so they can manage the best possible way."
Look at it this way, in any job you need basic tools. As a reporter, I use a notebook, a pen and a live truck. The Cooperative Parenting and Divorce program offers divorcees the tools they need to get over the anger and do their job better as a co-parent.
Heidi says, "It:taught me to focus on what's best for Cole. It also taught me to properly negotiate what is going to be in his best interest."
Heidi says since she took the 8 classes she feels stronger emotionally and believes she is a better parent for it.
She says, "It does teach to you keep all that anger and messiness and bickering back and forth away from the child and focus on what's important and that's the child. So I truly recommend it to anybody."
The 8 week course is offered quarterly. The first series starts October 6th and costs $130. The classes are held on Monday nights from 7:00- 9:00 at the Avera Living Well Center in Sioux Falls (33rd and Minnesota).
You can sign up on-line at Avera McKennan or call 877-AT-AVERA.