Sites That Encourage Heroic Co-Parenting
My last post addressed the importance of children having access to both parents who are separated or divorced. But here’s the rub… Co-parenting with your “Ex” can be especially challenging as you navigate the new, prickly terrain of separation and divorce. Often it takes a heroic act to put conflict aside and put children’s needs first.
Fortunately, there are great resources to help bring out the “Hero” in you. In this post, I mention two.
Online Help for Parents
UptoParents.org is a free, confidential and interactive website for separated and divorced parents. My mediation clients tell me regularly that using the UptoParents.org program helps them stay focused on protecting their children through the difficult transition of divorce. The online videos, articles and exercises invite parents to make a commitment to putting their kids’ need for parental cooperation above their own conflict – and offers tools and examples to show how it works. Most parents find that focusing on shared commitments around the children improves their own sense of well-being too. It’s ideal when both parents share the commitment, but it can still be effective even if your spouse doesn’t participate.
Building Confidence for Dads – And Moms!
While U.S. trends show that fathers have been steadily more involved in parenting since the 1980s, there are still approximately one in three kids who grow up without their dad present in their lives. My last post highlighted the importance of strong ties between children and fathers.
Allan Shedlin, a former educator and well-known “DADvocate,” promotes the joyful and nourishing impact of “daddying.” He is the founder and president of Reel Fathers, an innovative organization devoted to engaging fathers and supporting them to become strong, nurturing parents. Working with dads in Head Start centers and elementary schools, Reel Fathers uses movies as a touchstone to spark dialogue on sensitive issues of parenting and creating closer, loving relationships between fathers and their children. Fathers learn key skills such as the power of listening and speaking in caring, reflective ways. Men feel more confident about their role as a father – and mothers come to trust fathers more and recognize their need to “open the gate” to the children.
Reel Fathers is established in New Mexico and is currently developing partnerships throughout the Washington, DC area. The website offers do’s and don’ts for dads and shared personal stories about fostering father/child relationships, sometimes under very difficult circumstances.