Co-parent Skill Building

Our Co-Parent Skill Building Program is a comprehensive training and support service giving co-parents the skills and tools they need to care for their children in a dual-household family. This is essential guidance and support that all co-parents could benefit from. We create an individualized approach tailored to the unique needs of your family. Melissa Craven and I, Linda Toporek, co-faciltate the provision of these services. Melissa is a licensed therapist and I am a Certified Divorce Recovery Coach.

 

The end of a long-term relationship is a major transition that is difficult even under the best conditions.

While there is plenty of advice and information for dating and marriage, there is unfortunately very little guidance or support for new co-parents. Separation or divorce often includes conflict and resentment, there may be deeply rooted and problematic communication patterns, and the best known way to work things out is through the slow and expensive Family Court system. It’s unsurprising that new co-parent relationships are notoriously hostile! While conflict is understandable under these conditions, it is detrimental to children who do not understand the situation.

 

There is hope… co-parenting can be learned!

Even if it has been difficult to work things out with your ex in the past, it is very likely that together we can defuse negativity, create a sense of healthy detachment, and find a communication system and visitation agreement that allows both of you to focus on what is truly important — meeting the needs of your children. Through cooperative co-parenting support and skill-building we can give your kids the stability and support they need to adjust and maintain healthy relationships with both parents — two factors that are crucial to their healthy long-term development.

 

You aren’t alone anymore…

Rather than just tell you what to do, we’ll be there with you as you begin to implement our suggestions. As challenges arise, we’ll work with you side-by-side, step-by-step until you reach resolution. You’ll be able to draw on our years of experience and avoid many of the pitfalls and setbacks couples experience. Our service is purposefully flexible. We understand that issues arise at some of the most inconvenient times — often well outside business hours — and so we are available to help… even if it is 9pm on a Saturday night.


Working together as a team…

Our goal is to move you toward a cooperative, functional relationship that minimizes the opportunity for negativity and disagreement. While this may seem like an impossible task, there are proven, time-tested techniques for resolving points of conflict and a variety of communication structures that can be applied. Obviously, every situation is different so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one couple may be too little or too much support for your situation but through careful assessment we’ll identify a plan of action that is appropriate.

 

Judgment free, future focused…

We’ve seen it all. We aren’t here to judge or make anyone feel bad. We’ve learned that it’s not about blame and guilt, or who’s right and wrong. It’s about the kids. We want to leave the past in the past and begin moving forward with new skills and habits.

 

Get started today…

We know from experience that the earlier you begin to co-parent cooperatively, the easier the transition will be for you and your child. Remember, it is never too late to start and your situation is not hopeless!

 

Please contact us today to get started. We look forward to learning about your situation and helping any way we can.

 

843-478-9560

 

Co-parenting issues addressed through this program:

This is one of the biggest challenges of co-parenting. For many separating couples, communication tends to be sporadic and sparse or verbose and accusatory. Neither is productive. Our structured system uses a simple format for getting information to and from each parent. The Parent Support Specialist acts as a communication conduit and reviews and edits each email before the other parent receives the information. Parents learn ways to express themselves effectively without innuendos, barbs, or backlash.
As your children transition from one household to the next, conflict may arise regarding the logistics involved in dropping off or picking up the children and exchanging personal items. We help you streamline this process so that it runs smoothly.
It is a co-parenting reality that your child will have extra-curricular events, school functions, parent-teacher conferences, and medical appointments that require the attendance of both parents. We can teach you how to be together in a respectfully disengaged manner so that both you and your children can enjoy the activity.
When your child begins talking about the other parent or parent’s household, how do you handle it? Our Parent Support Specialists can help you address your child’s issues, kindly deflect the statements and redirect the child to other topics, or set the rules for appropriate discussions.
Sometimes children feel torn between the two households. We have developed a fun method for parents and children to use in discussing what types of things they would like to do more and those they would like to do less. It doesn’t mean that they always get all the changes they want, but there is usually a way that all family members can adjust so that everyone gets enough.
Sometimes, the smallest decisions can create the biggest crises. The best way to resolve a crisis is to prevent it. Our communication system will prevent a lot of them. However, if an issue has already started to become a source of contention, then resolving it at its earliest stage is critical. Our Parent Support Specialists are readily available to help prevent, stabilize, or de-escalate your crisis.
Family Ties works collaboratively with other agencies and professionals to ensure successful transitions. Parents may have an agreement through a court order and/or be working with a Parent Coordinator or therapist. Our Parent Support Specialist is available to work contextually with families, to provide accompaniment at appointments or transfers if needed, and to offer support while parenting or treatment plans are implemented. Family Ties will also refer out to other professionals if families need services that are out of the scope of our programs or expertise.

Program process

Initial Individual Interview:

The Parent Support Specialist (PSS) will meet with each co-parent separately to gain an understanding of their perception of the history of the relationship, their goals for the process, and predicted barriers to meeting those goals.

Initial Collateral Interviews:

The PSS may also speak with the attorneys of record and, when appointed, the Guardian ad Litem, and therapists. Depending on the situation, the PSS may also meet with the children.

Joint Sessions:

Once there is an understanding of the mutual goals, joint sessions begin. During these sessions, agreements or understandings may be reached that affect the everyday care of the children. Usually, these agreements are for the purpose of designing, clarifying, or refining a structure through which co-parents can function effectively. Sessions last between 1-2 hours. Meetings continue until a structured communication system, greeting, and transfer routine is in place and the co-parents are able to practice problem-solving with support from the PSS through email or by phone. Co-parents are then followed periodically to monitor progress and initiate intervention when needed.

Additional information

Purpose:

The purpose of the Parent Training and Support Program is to assist co-parents in developing and implementing the skills needed to have a functional co-parenting alliance with their co-parent while protecting and sustaining safe, healthy, meaningful parent-child relationships. This is a skills-based, contextual training and support process. It is not psycho-therapy, psycho-education, psychiatry, medical treatment, mediation, arbitration or legal counsel.

Role:

Our role is active, directive, supportive, and specifically focused on helping co-parents work together for the benefit of their children. We assist co-parents in learning skills that will allow them to work together as allies and to minimize the conflict to which children are exposed to by the parents.

Participation:

It is preferable for both parents to receive services at the same time. However, it can still be beneficial when only one parent chooses to participate. The other parent may join at a later time if he/she chooses.

Initiation of Services:

Co-parents may benefit from the program at any time during the transition from a nuclear to a bi-nuclear household. The earlier cooperative and constructive behavioral patterns are established, the less likely the children will be exposed to destructive conflict. Learning the skills needed to co-parent and receiving the support to practice them will, likely, make the transition smoother for all involved.

Communication structure

The structured communication system that will be developed and implemented outlines how co-parents will relay child-related information to each other. Information will be reviewed and edited in the beginning. When communication skills are mastered and email communications require no edits, PSS will discuss changing the protocol so that parents may start sending emails directly to each other; copying the PSS. The PSS will continue to review the communication for a small monthly fee and remain involved on an as-needed basis. Our protocols address routine, urgent and emergent communication.

Routine Weekly Communication will:

  • Be sent on a specific day each week
  • Be structured in a concise, business-like format
  • Have a 24 or 48 hour response time
  • Include items such as: appointments, medical or mental health updates, activities or events, school performance, behavioral concerns, scheduling conflicts, future planning, and problem solving.

Urgent Communication will:

  • Be sent if an event or task requires the attention of the other parent and must occur prior to or shortly after the next scheduled weekly communication. (ex. sporting event, change in practice times, doctor’s appointment, birthday party)
  • Be sent if a child is sick or injured enough to miss school or extra-curricular activity, require medication, or be taken to a physician
  • Be sent if a disciplinary issue arises that transcends household rules such as cutting school, suspension, illegal activity, etc.​

Emergent Communication will:

  • Be sent as soon as practical
  • Defined procedure with emergency contacts for both parents
  • Emergencies include, but are not limited to, a significant injury, behavior, or illness of a child requiring immediate medical attention or a visit to a hospital emergency department, automobile accident, disappearance, suicidal or homicidal threat, or involvement of law enforcement.​

 

 

Please call or email us today to get started! The sooner the better!

 

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