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The Co-Parenting Skills Workshop is a brief group intervention for parents who have difficulties in relationship with their child's other parent and the main objective of this work is to support parents to think about the impact of inter-parental conflict on their child and to facilitate interest and thinking about more constructive ways of co-parenting.

 
 This intervention has been developed at the Tavistock Relationships following Project Funding from the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

This manual is the intellectual property of Tavistock Relationships and must not be reproduced without permission. Training and consultation for work on inter-parental conflict in groups is available from Tavistock Relationships. training@tavistockrelationships.ac.uk

www.TavistockRelationships.ac.uk

 

Contents

  1. Introduction  
  2. Starting the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop   
  • Duration and venue
  • Allocation of resources/time for facilitation
  • Skills needed for Workshop group facilitator/s
  • Criteria for referral to the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop
  • Liasing with referrers and institutions (where applicable)
  • Necessary written material

3. Main Objectives of the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop    

4.  Selection and Preparation of Parents for the Group Meetings  

5.  Outline and Content of Group Meetings     

6.  References 

l7.  Appendices 

  • Co-Parenting Skills Workshop Evaluation Form
  • Co-Parenting Skills Workshop Leaflet for parents
  • Letter to parents
  • Letters to referrers
  • Handout Sheets

 

INTRODUCTION

The Co-Parenting Skills Workshop is a brief 6-session supportive and educational group designed to meet the needs of parents who are facing difficulties in co-parenting their child with the child’s other parent. It uses a small format group for 8 - 10 participants who may be either single parents or parents who are in a couple relationship who are interested in improving their skills in the co-parenting of their child.  The goal of the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop is to provide parents with an opportunity to think about issues in co-parenting their child and to help parents find new and more constructive ways of dealing with inter-parental conflict. This is achieved by providing the parents with a forum for exploring and reflecting on typical experiences in co-parenting. The group format is particularly helpful in providing an opportunity for parents to share their experience of parenting with other parents in the same situation as them. The group promotes sharing of, and learning from, difficult experiences and it facilitates parents’ engagement and thinking about three key elements: the needs of their child, their parenting style and their co-parenting issues and concerns.

The Co-Parenting Skills Workshop provides a forum for parents to work on finding new ways of dealing with difficulties they have in co-parenting and in improving their parenting alliance. This will enable parents to gain a greater understanding about the harmful impact of inter-parental conflict on the child and will help the parents to better manage conflicting situations with the child’s other parent. Parents will be able to think together with other parents about how inter-parental conflict impacts on their child’s emotional well-being. This helps the parents find more constructive ways of co-parenting their child, so increasing their confidence as parents at the same time as promoting a better quality of life for their child or children.

The Workshop will be of value to any organisation working with parents who are concerned about the impact of their relationship with their child’s other parent, whether living together or not. These would include Family Centres, Sure Start Programmes, Education, Voluntary, Community, and Faith Organisations, as well as Children’s Services, Social Services and Health Services including mental health.  

The Workshop is designed to be facilitated by staff who have a basic knowledge of counselling and group work skills (including psychology, psychotherapy and social work trainees), as well as by staff who have advanced skills in interpersonal work such as counsellors, psychologists, social workers, and psychotherapists.  Because the groups are exploratory as well as instructive and because they touch on sensitive issues for parents they can give rise to considerable strength of feeling.  Furthermore, the group setting itself can exacerbate these feelings.  Where less-experienced staff are taking part in the work it would be important that this work is carried out in co-facilitation with a more experienced staff member and that facilitators have access to regular consultation/supervision with an appropriate senior colleague.

2.  STARTING THE CO-PARENTING SKILLS WORKSHOP

Duration and Venue

The Co-Parenting Skills Workshop is composed of 6 group meetings. These may be run either weekly or fortnightly, but consistency is important in this intervention so whatever frequency is chosen, it should be kept to.  In addition, the group meetings should be run at the same time, in the same venue and by same facilitator or co-facilitators.  Each group meeting lasts for 1½ hours. A start and finish date must be established before the group meetings begin so parents are aware of the period of time that the skills workshop takes and so the length of their commitment.

Allocation of resources / time for facilitation

Group facilitators will need to ensure in advance that there are sufficient support and resources available before they begin the Workshop.  Some Workshops will only need the agreement of the facilitator/s’ line manager or supervisor; others may require agreement and resources from other agencies (such as a hall provided by another organisation or facilitators coming from different agencies), and sometimes from a number of agencies at the same time.  In addition to what is needed for each group meeting, there is also the need to ensure that sufficient background time is made available for setting up the workshop and for ensuring its successful delivery and evaluation. Generally speaking this would be up to 1 session (½-day) per week and would include time for selection and preparation for the workshop, notes made of each group meeting, supervision/consultation, and contact with referrers as and when needed.

Skills needed for Workshop group facilitator/s

The Workshop is a psycho-social intervention drawing out parents’ difficulties and successes in co-parenting, enabling them to share and learn from each other as well as giving them some relevant information about what helps children and what does not.  It is not a psychotherapy intervention, though some of its principles draw from those of psychotherapy.  Care needs to be taken with how group members are enabled to deal with material about themselves, their children or their co-parents that might be upsetting or feel shaming. For example, facilitators will need to pay careful attention to the management and maintenance of the boundary of the group meetings.  This means that, in addition to the care that needs to be taken to make the Workshop consistent, care also needs to be taken to ensure that group members do not use it in a way that might be harmful to them.  A typical example of this is when a parent begins to share a very personal area in greater depth such as a personal experience of abuse.  It would not be appropriate to do this in the format of this Workshop, so facilitators should be able to intervene sensitively to enable the group member’s privacy whilst also directing them to where  s/he could access appropriate help e.g. through their GP or health visitor. The Workshop group facilitator/s must have a good knowledge of child protection issues and procedures and a working knowledge of child development, the education system, and mental health issues.

In summary, then, facilitators ideally should have the following: 
1. experience of working with parents;
2. experience of working with children and families;
3. experience of facilitating groups;
4. knowledge of background information such as child protection, child development, the education system, and mental health.

Where some experience or knowledge is missing, facilitators and commissioners of the Workshop will need to ensure either co-facilitation with a more experienced colleague, or regular supervision/consultation to the work.

 

Criteria for referral to the Co-Parenting Skills WorkshopThe Co-Parenting Skills Workshop is designed for single parents and for parent-couples. Each programme can be composed of single parents, parent-couples or a mixture of both. The key criteria for selection/ referral to the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop is the parent’s willingness to address and improve their co-parenting partnership with the child’s other parent (irrespective of whether the other parent is biological parent or not), and the commitment to attend

all the group meetings in the workshop.

Liaising with referrers and other organisations (where applicable)

As indicated above, considerable work may have to go on to ensure that the Workshops are accepted as an intervention that organisations will support and resource.  This may require meeting potential referrers to present the objectives of the Workshop and to discuss referral criteria, procedures around liaison and feedback, and to clarify confidentiality and its limits.


Necessary written material
1. Co-Parenting Skills Workshop Leaflet;
2.  Letter to Parents joining the Workshop
3.  Letters to referrers (where applicable);
4.  Co-Parenting Skills Workshop Evaluation Form; and
5.  Handouts (please see Appendices).


3.  Main objective of the co-parenting skills workshop

The main aims are to facilitate development of parenting and co-parenting skills. 

The Workshop has 4 main objectives:

(1). To increase understanding about the child’s needs and difficulties (in the context of inter-parental conflict)
(2). To increase understanding about the participants’ relationship with their child (in the context of inter-parental conflict)
(3). To increase understanding about the nature of difficulties in the parenting relationship with the child’s other parent
(4). To increase understanding about the impact of parental conflict on the child


(1). Increasing understanding of the child’s needs and difficulties (in the context of inter-parental conflict)

It is important that parents gain an increased awareness and understanding of their child’s needs and difficulties and the effect of parenting styles on their child. This can help parents to monitor the impact of their parenting on their child and help them to see when ministrations are helpful or unhelpful, as well as the ways in which conflict impedes their capacity to parent effectively.

Awareness and understanding of a child’s needs and difficulties are essential if parents are to parent effectively. All parents need to find their own parenting style which can adjust to the different developmental needs and challenges which their child will face and which will ordinarily test parents. This is a much more difficult and fraught task where there is conflict between parents.

We know from research that inter-parental conflict has a direct relationship with the quality of emotional interactions parents have with children (Cox et al. 2001; Davies and Cummings 2006) . Hostility from the inter-parental conflict spills over to the parents’ relationship with their child. This has a negative impact on the way in which parents treat their children, e.g., on parents’ ability to keep their children’s needs in their mind and to be attuned to their child. Sometimes parents are unaware of the impact that inter-parental conflict is having on their capacity to parent, and how this may affect their child and furthermore contribute to the problems that their child may have.

It can become much more difficult for parents to understand their children’s need and difficulties when there is inter-parental conflict. Inter-parental conflict generally makes parenting much more stressful. Parents will often disagree about parenting styles and approaches, which can be very confusing for the child. Parents who are engaged in conflict frequently do not support or indeed actively undermine the ways in which the other parent manages the child. When parents are caught up in a destructive interaction between themselves there is not much space for thinking about the child, e.g., child’s needs or child’s difficulties. Not only does this mean that setting boundaries becomes more difficult, it also means that the child is placed in a loyalty bind about whose boundaries to adhere to. It can also make it more difficult for children to accept and cooperate with the boundaries set in school. This can then impact on their academic attainment, which research has shown suffers when children are exposed to destructive inter-parental conflict (Harold, G.T., Aitken, J., and Shelton, K.H. 2007).

(2).  Increasing understanding of the participants’ relationship with their child (in the context of inter-parental conflict)

Parents can find it hard to think about their own relationship with their child when they are trying to deal with inter-parental conflict. Parent can be focused on what the other parent is doing ‘wrong’, whilst not taking in consideration their own relationship with the child. A child witnessing inter-parental conflict could be left feeling disturbed in various ways, e.g., the child could be left feeling confused, angry, guilty or abandoned by parent/s. Some children develop behaviour problems to try to cope with these feelings. Recent research on the damaging effects of inter-parental conflict has shown that children monitor inter-parental conflict very closely and are highly attuned to it. They commonly feel blame and responsibility for inter-parental conflict and as a result, they take steps to try to manage the conflict. They do so because children’s appraisals of how parents behave towards each other, determines how they expect their parents to behave towards them (Davies & Cummings 1994; Harold & Conger 1997; Shelton et al 2006; McCoy, Cummings & Davies 2009). 

Often parents find it hard to support and encourage the child’s relationship with their other parent particularly where there has been an acrimonious separation. Particularly damaging to children is inter-parental conflict which is child-related (Goeke-Morey, Cummings, Harold and Shelton 2002). This is because child-related conflict undermines children’s sense of security because they signify family break-up and the potential spill-over of hostility from conflicts between the parents to the interactions between the parents and the child.  In effect, the child sees what goes on between the parents and fears for his or her own safety at their hands.

The group intervention can help parents to feel less ambivalent and threatened, and/or more interested in supporting their child’s relationship with the other parent, whilst at the same time continuing to foster their own relationship with the child and their co-parent. 

(3). Increasing understanding about the nature of difficulties in the parenting relationship with the child’s other parent

Many parents who find co-parenting difficult feel that they are the better parent and that all their problems were really attributable to the other parent’s attitudes and behaviour. However, an important part of this objective is to help parents understand that their own co-parenting difficulties and consequent problems for their child are not solely as a result of the other parent, but that they too are playing their own part in the relationship conflict.

In a group setting, parents are able to support each other to think about difficulties in their relationship with the child’s other parent. Since all participants in the group have experience of struggling with the inter-parental conflict, the shared experience helps the parents to feel less isolated. Furthermore this facilitates discussion and thinking about the shared experience of painful, disturbing and frustrating relationship with the child’s other parent. It is important that parents realize that they cannot change their co-parent and that they have opportunity to reflect on their own contribution to the current state of affairs. An important part of this process is for parents to consider in greater depth their child’s perspective and the way the child feel about the parents’ relationship and conflict. Above all, children can struggle with the loyalties they feel towards both parents and can have conflicting feelings about needing to protect both their parents’ feelings.

In our experience many parents feel they know how to parent. However, what parents have told us they want more help with is with their relationship with the child’s other parent and forming a good parenting alliance so that they can co-parent more effectively.  Parents in a group setting can also challenge each other in a constructive way and help other parents to move on from the negative cycles they are caught up in.

(4). Increasing understanding about the impact of parental conflict on the child

In our experience, parents often find it difficult to think about the effect of inter-parental conflict on their child. This is not because parents do not care for their child, but rather because they are often caught up in conflict with the child’s other parent and are greatly preoccupied with how the other parent has failed them or the child. This can be the case whether parents are separated or living together. When parents become very entrenched in arguments and battles, the result is that their child is likely to be dropped from their mind.

Increased awareness and understanding of the impact of inter-parental conflict on their child will help parents to recognize and appreciate the how potentially damaging this could be for their child. We hope this in turn will help them to keep their child in mind more consistently and accordingly, to moderate their conflicts with the child’s other parent.

There is a clear and long-established link between couple conflict and children’s emotional and behavioural problems (Davis et al. 1998, pp. 6-7; Grych and Fincham 1990; Jenkins and Smith 1991; Katz and Gottman 1993; Sanders 1995; Rutter 1985; Cummings and Davies 2002), even in families that are not deemed to be in a clinical population or otherwise at risk (Cowan et al. 1996)  Such conflict may be verbal, emotional or physical and may involve disputes about child-rearing (Fincham 1994; Fincham et al. 1994) and it is clear that parent couples who are able to resolve their disputes and disagreements through compromise have a beneficial effect on their children (Camara and Resnick 1989; Cummings et al. 2001; Webster-Stratton and Hammond 1999).

4. SELECTION AND PREPARATION OF PARENTS FOR THE GROUP MEETINGS

All prospective participants should be seen on an individual basis for 1 meeting prior participating in the Workshop.  At this meeting the following things should be done:

  • Discuss participant’s experience of co-parenting issues
  • Prepare participants for the joint, couple aspect of intervention. Explore the couple’s views/feelings about both partners participating/working together in the group. Explore with single parents their views/feelings about the focus on the parental relationship.
  • Prepare the single parent or couple for group work, by exploring views/feelings about working in the group format, drawing out any previous experience of being in groups, etc.
  • Assess the parents’ willingness to participate in the Workshop including being able to think about their own contribution to their difficulties with co-parenting.
  • Explain your connection with your organization and with referrer (if applicable) and emphasize confidentiality of the material presented in the group vis a vis the referrer and referrer organization.  Parents will need to be told the limits of this confidentiality in regard to risk to themselves or others, and in Child Protection matters.
  • Administer any Pre-Group Questionnaires (where applicable)
  • Get agreement to the basic group ground rules that are needed for the groups: confidentiality, commitment to participate regularly/punctually, agreement to continue to attend the workshop for 1 more session if they decide to drop out i.e. so that they don’t just disappear and so that the other group members can hear and reflect on their account about why they wish discontinue attendance.
  • Discuss practical issues such as the time and venue, duration of group, child care, facilitator/s’ contact details, parent/s’ contact details.


5.  OUTLINE AND CONTENT OF GROUP MEETINGS

Overall:  Parents have their own knowledge and skills about what works for them as parents and as co-parents, try to help parents to build on the skills they have.  The Workshop does not aim to replicate the various Parent Education interventions but is designed to enable parents to reflect on their own experience and to learn from each other as well as from the Facilitators.  This is best done by developing a culture in the group meetings in which no one person dominates the discussion at the expense of others and taking particular care around how the various weekly topics provoke strong and/or painful feelings in group members.

The following outline of the 6 group meetings contains general guidance around the likely processes that will go on in each group and specific guidance around how the group can be structured.  Handouts may or may not be used and are itemised in the Appendix..

1st Group Meeting

  • Facilitator/s’ introduction to the Workshop and the group, explaining objectives and how the group will work.
  • Members’ introduction to each other, with a focus on the issues they face around parental conflict and co-parenting. Each participant should take between 5 to 10 minutes to introduce themselves and present their situation.
  • Discussion about parents’ expectations of the Workshop.


2nd Group Meeting

  • Re-cap from last group meeting: 5 minutes feedback about what they found helpful, interesting and/or important for them on the last group
  • Begin the focus on the child’s needs and difficulties drawing out the parents experiences. Bear in mind that some parents may feel guilty and/or angry about their children’s difficulties
  • Give out Handout Sheets for 2nd group meeting. Allow 10 minutes for parents to respond to questions.
  • Put all generated ideas on flipchart (children’s needs and list of difficult situations for children).
  • Facilitate group discussion about the ideas that were generated, focusing on what would help parents to better recognise their child’s needs and situations that were difficult for their children.


3rd Group Meeting

  • Re-cap from last group meeting: 5 minutes feedback about what they found helpful, interesting and/or important for them on the last group.
  • Keeping the focus on the child’s needs and difficulties, gradually begin to bring in the parents’ relationship to the child, drawing this out where necessary in a way that helps share the conversation and making links between group members’ experiences.  Bear in mind that this may feel embarrassing or shaming to some parents.
  • Give out Handout Sheets for 3rd group meeting. Allow 10 minutes for parents to respond to questions.
  • Put all generated ideas on flipchart (most challenging situations in the parent’s relationship with their child, and the strengths in the parent’s relationship with their child).
  • Facilitate group discussion about the ideas that were generated, focusing on how parents could use their capacities and strengths in challenging situations with their child.


4th Group Meeting

  • Re-cap from last group meeting: 5 minutes feedback about what they found helpful, interesting and/or important for them in the last group meeting.
  • Keeping the focus on the parents’ relationship to the child, gradually begin to help the group members talk about the co-parenting relationship – what it is like trying to parent with another parent (or indeed with no one else to help/hinder).  Again, help keep the conversation flowing and make links.  Bear in mind that this topic is likely to raise angry feelings towards the other parent.  The group can help by presenting different perspectives.
  • Give out Handout Sheets for 4th group meeting. Allow 10 minutes for parents to respond to questions.
  • Put all generated ideas on flipchart (difficulties parents experience in their relationship with the child’s other parent and things they could do to improve their relationship with their child’s other parent).
  • Facilitate group discussion about the ideas that were generated, focusing on how parents could improve their relationship with the child’s other parent.


5th Group Meeting

  • Re-cap from last group meeting- 5 minutes feedback about what they found helpful, interesting and/or important for them on the last group
  • Keeping the focus on the 3-way relationships between parents and child, begin to address the way in which conflict between the parents has an impact on the child.  Again, keep the conversation flowing and intervene with information at those points when the group begin to deny their responsibility for their child’s distress/behaviour and try to make it solely the responsibility of the other/absent parent.  This is likely to be a group that has a mix of anxious/angry feelings and depressed/self-blaming feelings, so the facilitator/s will need to be active in making links between the group members’ different perspectives and to keep in mind the positive effects of dealing with inter-parental conflict on their child.
  • Give out Handout Sheets for 5th group meeting. Allow 10 minutes for parents to respond to questions.
  • Put all generated ideas on flipchart (impact of co-parenting relationship on their child).
  • Facilitate group discussion about the ideas that were generated focusing on how inter-parental conflict impacts on the child.


6th Group Meeting

  • Re-cap from last group meeting 5 minutes:
  • Returning again to the needs of the child, enable the group to go over the 4 elements of the Workshop, recapitulating their experience from all groups, talking about key points again, and again making links between the perspectives of the group members.  Bear in mind that this is the ending session and that there may be a tendency to idealize the group or the facilitators, or alternately, to rubbish the experience as useless or not enough.  Help group members to be realistic in what the group has done and has not been able to do as this will help them contextualise and integrate their learning more easily. 15 minutes
  • Give out Handout Sheets for 6th Group. Allow 10 minutes for parents to respond to questions about the understanding or experience they had in the Workshop that they found important for their relationship with their child and about the understanding or experience they had in the Workshop that they found important for improvement of their relationship with their child’s other parent
  • Facilitate 40 minutes group discussion on these topics.
  • Facilitators ask parents about their experience  of the Workshop, 10 minutes for this feedback
  • Give out Evaluation Form – 10 minutes to fill this out

 

6. REFERRENCES

Camara, K.A. and Resnick, G. (1989). "Styles of conflict resolution and cooperation between divorced parents: Effects on child behavior and adjustment." Journal of Orthopsychiatry 59: 560-575.


Cowan, P., Cowan, C.P. and Schulz, M.S. (1996). Thinking about risk and resilience in families. Stress, coping, and resiliency in children and families. (Eds, Hetherington, E.M. and Blechman, E.A.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum: 1-38.


Cox, M.J., Paley, B. and Harter, K. (2001). Interparental conflict and parent-child relationships. Interparental conflict and child development: Theory, research, and applications. (Eds, Grych, J.H. and Fincham, F.D.). New York: Cambridge University Press: 249-272.


Cummings, E.M. and Davies, P.T. (2002). "Effects of marital conflict on children: Recent advances and emerging themes in process-oriented research." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 43: 31-63.


Cummings, E.M., Goeke-Morey, M.C. and Papp, L.M. (2001). Couple conflict, children, and families: It's not just you and me, babe. Couples in Conflict. (Eds, Booth, A., Crouter, C. and Clements, M.). Manwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


Davies, P.T. & Cummings, E.M. (1994). Marital Conflict and Child Adjustment: An Emotional Security Hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 387-411.


Davies, P.T. and Cummings, E.M. (2006). Interparental discord, familt process, and developmental psychopathology. Developmental Psychopathology: Vol 3.  Risk, disorder, and adaptation. (Eds, Cicchetti, D. and Cohen, D.J.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley: 86-126.


Davis, B.T., Hops, H., Alpert, A. and Sheeber, L. (1998). "Child responses to parental conflict and their effects on adjustment: A study of triadic relations." Journal of Family Psychology 12: 163-177.


Fincham, F.D. (1994). "Understanding the association between marital conflict and child adjustment: Overview." Journal of Family Psychology 8: 123-127.


Fincham, F.D., Grych, J.H. and Osborne, L.N. (1994). "Does marital conflict cause child maladjustment? Directions and challenges for longitudinal research." Journal of Family Psychology 8: 128-140.


Goeke-Morey, M.C., Cummings, E.M., Harold, G.T., & Shelton, K.H. (2002). Child responses to inter-parental conflict: Comparing the relative roles of emotional security and social learning processes. In: P.T. Davies, G.T. Harold, M.C. Goeke-Morey & E.M. Cummings (Eds), Child Emotional Security and Inter-parental Conflict. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67 (Serial number 270).


Grych, J.H. and Fincham, F.D. (1990). "Marital conflict and children's adjustment: A cognitive-contextual framework." Psychological Bulletin 108: 267-290.


Harold, G.T., Aitken, J., Shelton, K.H.  (2007). Inter-Parental Conflict and Children’s Academic Attainment: A Longitudinal Analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48(12), 1223-1232


Harold & Conger, (1997). Marital Conflict and Adolescent Distress. Child Development, 68(2). 333-350.


Jenkins, J.M. and Smith, M.A. (1991). "Marital dishamony and children's behavior problems: Aspects of a poor marriage that affect children adversely." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 32: 793-810.


Katz, L.F. and Gottman, J.M. (1993). "Patterns of marital conflict predict children's internalizing and externalizing behaviors." Developmental Psychology 23: 940-950.


McCoy, Cummings & Davies, (2009). Constructive and Destructive Marital Conflict, Emotional Security and Children’s Prosocial Behaviour. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50:3. 270-9


Rutter, M. (1985). "Family and school influences on behavioral development." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 26: 349-368.


Sanders, M.R. (1995). Families and Mental Health. Healthy Families: Healthy Nation. (Ed, Sanders, M.R.). Brisbane: Families International Publishing.


Shelton K.H., Harold, G.T., Goeke-Morey, M.C. (2006) Children’s Coping with Marital Conflict: The Role of Conflict Expression and Gender. Social Development. 15 (2), 232-247


Webster-Stratton, C. and Hammond, M. (1999). "Marital conflict management skills, parenting style and early-onset conduct problems: Processes and pathways." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 40: 917-927.



7.  APPENDICES

  • Co-Parenting Skills Workshop Evaluation Form
  • Co-Parenting Skills Workshop Leaflet for parents
  • Letter to parents
  • Letters to Referrers
    Handout/Homework Sheets

Co-parenting Skills Workshop Evaluation Form

Venue:

Date:

Please help us improve this group by answering some questions about it.
We are interested in your honest opinions, whether they are positive or negative. Please answer all of the questions. We also welcome your comments and suggestions. Thank you, we appreciate your help.


PLEASE CIRCLE YOUR ANSWER AND ADD ANY COMMENTS:

Do you think it was helpful to think about your child’s needs and difficulties?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 

Do you think it was helpful to think about how you are as a parent?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 


Do you think it was helpful to think about your relationship with your child’s other parent?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 


Did the Workshop help you feel that you and your child’s other parent could make a difference to your child’s life by working together differently?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 


Did the Workshop give you new skills or perspectives or give you more confidence in the ones you already have?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 


Did the Workshop give you a greater understanding of how conflict between parents impacts on the child?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 

Did you find it was helpful to participate in the group with other parents who were also facing problems in co-parenting their child?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 

 

Did you feel the Workshop was organized and run well?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not
Comments:

 

 


Do you feel that the Workshop met your needs?

5

4
3
2
1
Yes, definitely
Yes, generally
Don’t know
No, not really
No, definitely not

Comments:

 

 


ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO LET US KNOW?

  


Co-Parenting Workshop Leaflet for parents

                             
XXXX (contact details of Workshop Facilitators)

Dear Parents

We are planning to run a Co-Parenting Skills Workshop to help parents in co-parenting their children.  The aim of the Workshop group meetings will be to empower parents to work together to support their children.  The group will meet for 6 consecutive weeks on XXXX (day of the week and time), starting on XXXX (date). Each workshop will be in duration of 1 ½ hours.

During these 6 weekly meetings, we will hear about your children, understand the issues and challenges you may be facing in co-parenting and think together in the group about how to help you and your child. The Workshop will give everyone the chance to think about the problems they might be having in joint parenting of their child with their partner or child’s other parent.  Parents will have an opportunity to discuss ideas about new ways of doing things.  It is intended that parents will gain support by working together in a group with other parents who are facing similar issues in co-parenting.

The venue for the group meetings will be XXXX (address of the venue). The parents who take part in this group will be reimbursed for any child care and travel expenses (if applicable).

If you are interested in participating in the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop please contact us (if parents are to be referred by referrer then please contact the member of staff who gave this letter to you).

Workshop Facilitators:

 


Letter to parents

                             
XXXX (contact details of Workshop Facilitators)

Dear Parents

We are running a Co-Parenting Skills Workshop to help parents in co-parenting their children and we are pleased to offer you a place.  The aim of the Workshop group meetings will be to empower parents to work together to support their children.  The group will meet for 6 consecutive weeks on XXXX (day of the week and time), starting on XXXX (date). Each workshop will be in duration of 1 ½ hours.

During these 6 weekly meetings, we will hear about your children, understand the issues and challenges you may be facing in co-parenting and think together in the group about how to help you and your child. The Workshop will give everyone the chance to think about the problems they might be having in joint parenting of their child with their partner or child’s other parent.  You and the other parents will have an opportunity to discuss ideas about new ways of doing things.  It is intended that parents will gain support by working together in a group with other parents who are facing similar issues in co-parenting.

The venue for the group meetings will be XXXX (address of the venue). You will be reimbursed for any child care and travel expenses (if applicable to the local group).

We look forward to meeting you again then.

Workshop Facilitators:

 



Letter 1 to referrers

To inform them about the Workshop and to recruit referrals to it

 

Dear XXXX,

We are undertaking a Co-Parenting Skills Workshop of 6 group meetings with parents. The aim of the Workshop is to help parents deal with inter-parental conflict. This is a supportive and educational group not a psychotherapeutic intervention, and the main objective is to help parents find new ways of co-parenting that would be of greater benefit to their child/children. We accept referrals of both single parents and parents in a couple relationship. The main referral criteria is that the parents wish to work on improving the co-parenting relationship with the child's other parent (irrespective of whether the other parent is a biological parent or not).The Workshop is funded by XXXXX, and will be facilitated in (venue) on (date) by (names and titles of facilitators).

If you need any further information we (I) would be happy to meet with you to discuss this.

XXXX name of facilitator/s


Letter 2 to referrers

To inform them whether the referred parent was seen and about the outcome of the meeting

 

Dear XXXX,

RE: XXXX (name of parent and address)

We are writing to let you know that XXXXX is interested in the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop. The Workshop is starting n XXXXX (date) in XXXX (venue).  The group will be meeting on XXXXX (day of week and time) and will be facilitated on a weekly basis until XXXX (date). 

It would be very important for all members to attend the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop regularly. This would ensure that everyone gets the most out of this short term input.
 
The aim of the Workshop is to focus on parenting issues. We will specifically address problems that participants experience in co-parenting and parenting alone. The group will provide the possibility to think with other parents about the range of issues around parenting and co-parenting, and participants would have opportunity to share ideas about how to tackle difficulties.

With best wishes,


Letter 3 to referrers

After ending of the Workshop

 

Dear XXXX

Thank you for referring XXXX (name of parent or couple) to the Co-Parenting Skills Workshop.
We would like to let you know that XXXX (name of parent or couple) attended Co-Parenting Workshops on XXXX (dates of attendance).

We facilitated the last Workshop on XXXX and will not be arranging further appointments for XXXX (parent or couple).

The main focus on the Workshop was on understanding the impact of parental conflict on the child and in finding new ways of co-parenting the child.

If you are interested to know more about the Co-Parenting Workshop please do not hesitate to contact us.

With best wishes,

XXXX (facilitator/s)


Handout Sheets

Note: These Sheets are optional. Local groups may need to ensure that they are translated into relevant languages and care should be taken in using them so that parents who are not confident in their reading or writing skills are not discriminated against.

The Handout Sheets can be handed out in the group to be filled in the course of the group and discussed in the group with the use of a flip chart and as a starting point for brainstorming exercise. This material can also be used as a Homework Sheet to be handed out prior to the group as preparation for discussion in the group.

Handout for Group 1

Sheet with the list of 4 Workshop aims and copy of 5 Handouts for Groups 2,3,4,5 & 6, and Evaluation Form.

Handout for Group 2

Please describe briefly what you consider to be 3 most important needs of your child

Please describe briefly what you consider to be 3 situations that are most difficult for your child

Handout for Group 3

Please describe briefly what you consider to be the most challenging situations in your relationship with your child

Please describe briefly what you consider to be the strengths in your relationship with your childHandout for Group 4

Please describe 3 difficulties you experience in your relationship with the child’s other parent

Please describe 3 things you could do to improve your relationship with your child’s other parent

Handout  for Group 5

Please describe briefly your view about how your relationship with the child’s other parent impacts on your child.
Handout for Group 6

Please describe briefly an understanding or experiences in the Workshop that you found relevant for your relationship with your child

Please describe briefly an understanding or experiences in the Workshop that you found important for your relationship with your child’s other parent.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


References

Camara, K.A. and Resnick, G. (1989). "Styles of conflict resolution and cooperation between divorced parents: Effects on child behavior and adjustment." Journal of Orthopsychiatry 59: 560-575.
Cowan, P., Cowan, C.P. and Schulz, M.S. (1996). Thinking about risk and resilience in families. Stress, coping, and resiliency in children and families. (Eds, Hetherington, E.M. and Blechman, E.A.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum: 1-38.
Cox, M.J., Paley, B. and Harter, K. (2001). Interparental conflict and parent-child relationships. Interparental conflict and child development: Theory, research, and applications. (Eds, Grych, J.H. and Fincham, F.D.). New York: Cambridge University Press: 249-272.
Cummings, E.M. and Davies, P.T. (2002). "Effects of marital conflict on children: Recent advances and emerging themes in process-oriented research." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 43: 31-63.
Cummings, E.M., Goeke-Morey, M.C. and Papp, L.M. (2001). Couple conflict, children, and families: It's not just you and me, babe. Couples in Conflict. (Eds, Booth, A., Crouter, C. and Clements, M.). Manwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Davies, P.T. & Cummings, E.M. (1994). Marital Conflict and Child Adjustment: An Emotional Security Hypothesis. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 387-411.
Davies, P.T. and Cummings, E.M. (2006). Interparental discord, familt process, and developmental psychopathology. Developmental Psychopathology: Vol 3.  Risk, disorder, and adaptation. (Eds, Cicchetti, D. and Cohen, D.J.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley: 86-126.
Davis, B.T., Hops, H., Alpert, A. and Sheeber, L. (1998). "Child responses to parental conflict and their effects on adjustment: A study of triadic relations." Journal of Family Psychology 12: 163-177.
Fincham, F.D. (1994). "Understanding the association between marital conflict and child adjustment: Overview." Journal of Family Psychology 8: 123-127.
Fincham, F.D., Grych, J.H. and Osborne, L.N. (1994). "Does marital conflict cause child maladjustment? Directions and challenges for longitudinal research." Journal of Family Psychology 8: 128-140.
Goeke-Morey, M.C., Cummings, E.M., Harold, G.T., & Shelton, K.H. (2002). Child responses to inter-parental conflict: Comparing the relative roles of emotional security and social learning processes. In: P.T. Davies, G.T. Harold, M.C. Goeke-Morey & E.M. Cummings (Eds), Child Emotional Security and Inter-parental Conflict. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67 (Serial number 270).
Grych, J.H. and Fincham, F.D. (1990). "Marital conflict and children's adjustment: A cognitive-contextual framework." Psychological Bulletin 108: 267-290.
Harold, G.T., Aitken, J., Shelton, K.H.  (2007). Inter-Parental Conflict and Children’s Academic Attainment: A Longitudinal Analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48(12), 1223-1232
Harold & Conger, (1997). Marital Conflict and Adolescent Distress. Child Development, 68(2). 333-350.
Jenkins, J.M. and Smith, M.A. (1991). "Marital dishamony and children's behavior problems: Aspects of a poor marriage that affect children adversely." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 32: 793-810.
Katz, L.F. and Gottman, J.M. (1993). "Patterns of marital conflict predict children's internalizing and externalizing behaviors." Developmental Psychology 23: 940-950.
McCoy, Cummings & Davies, (2009). Constructive and Destructive Marital Conflict, Emotional Security and Children’s Prosocial Behaviour. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 50:3. 270-9
Rutter, M. (1985). "Family and school influences on behavioral development." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 26: 349-368.
Sanders, M.R. (1995). Families and Mental Health. Healthy Families: Healthy Nation. (Ed, Sanders, M.R.). Brisbane: Families International Publishing.
Shelton K.H., Harold, G.T., Goeke-Morey, M.C. (2006) Children’s Coping with Marital Conflict: The Role of Conflict Expression and Gender. Social Development. 15 (2), 232-247
Webster-Stratton, C. and Hammond, M. (1999). "Marital conflict management skills, parenting style and early-onset conduct problems: Processes and pathways." Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 40: 917-927.

 

 

 

 

 


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