When two people separate, there can often be conflict between the parties which often makes the ability to effectively communicate and to make decisions about their children, such as care and living arrangements, quite challenging and at times seemingly impossible.
The importance of co-parenting
It is crucial for parents to be able to communicate respectfully and productively following separation to ensure that the impact on the children from the breakdown of the family unit is minimised. When parents are able to set aside their differences and promote a healthy relationship between the children and each parent, it is the children who ultimately benefit. This is referred to as ‘co-parenting’.
We understand that some parties can achieve this when there is an amicable end to their relationship. On the other hand, in circumstances where there is a high level of distrust and animosity between the parties, it can be difficult for some people to move past their emotions.
At Andersons, we promote parents participating in post separation parenting courses.
What are parenting courses?
Parenting courses are focused on helping parents rebuild a productive and cooperative relationship to promote the best interests of the children. We don’t make this recommendation because we think some people are “bad parents”. The courses are designed to assist people dealing with the difficulties that arise from parenting after separation.
What is the court’s view on parenting courses?
It is common for Judges in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court to make orders for one or both parties to participate in and provide proof of completion of specific parenting courses.
Even if not specifically ordered by the court to do so, there are many things that can be gained by completing post separation parenting course and for this reason, most lawyers recommend the same.
Where can you do a parenting course?
Many parenting courses are run by community centres.
Two of the most common parenting courses completed by parents after separation include:
Kids R First Parenting Course
This program is run by Anglicare for parents as well as caregivers and extended family members. It includes group work where you can share your experiences with other separating parents in a safe and supportive environment. The course aims to increase awareness about the impact that separation can have on children and the importance of reducing conflict between parties. It also discusses issues such as trust and communication and the importance of making balanced decisions in the best interests of the children.
You will initially undergo and intake assessment with one of the case managers before being registered into a group session. Group sessions take place in Hindmarsh, Elizabeth and Christies Beach. Mediation is also offered. There are nominal fees involved in the course and concessions are available.
For more information on the Kids R First program, visit Anglicare.
Circle of Security Parenting Course
This is an eight week program run by Centacare which focusses of parenting through building secure attachments, with the idea that secure children have greater self-esteem, improved relationships with others and are able to handle their feelings and emotions better. The course aims at helping parents to better understand their children’s’ feelings and behaviour post separation and what they can do to help their child adjust to the changes in the family dynamics.
There is no fee for this course but limited spots are available so booking are essential. For more information, see the Centacare website.
Other Parenting Courses
There are a wide variety of other parenting courses run through many providers and even private organisations. Such courses also range in cost and formal recognition. It is important for parties to find a parenting course that meets their needs. There are programs which can focus on specific issues such as family violence, drug and alcohol issues or parenting young children or children with special needs.
In addition to providing parenting courses, a lot of community centres provide support services such as counselling and support groups for parents who are dealing with similar situations. Utilising these services can be beneficial as they widen a person’s support network.
Relationships Australia also offers a wide range of counselling and support services for both parents and children following relationship breakdowns. These services are generally available in both regional and rural areas Australia wide.
And we cannot forget that it isn’t just parents who benefit from post separation courses either; children can too. There are lots of programs run by the same providers, for children who may be struggling with the breakdown of the family unit.