Supporting your child or children after separation is an unknown playground for many parents. The challenges in guiding children and responding appropriately to changes in behaviour can be difficult. The “Parenting After Separation” program developed by Relationships Australia (also known as Supporting Children after Separation) is a course designed for separated parents and carers who want to find ways to support children through the process of separation.
In addition to learning about supporting children, the group will also focus on helping you manage your ongoing relationship with the other parent (and their family) and to reduce conflict.
There is a popular mantra through those experienced in family law which is:
It is not separation that affects children, it is conflict.
This course is designed to assist in reducing childrens’ exposure to conflict.
What are the key outcomes?
Over the period of the course, the program has 3 key outcomes:
- Clarify your problems.
- Gain perspectives.
- Work through change.
Whilst there are several other focuses in the program, the above 3 are a central theme to improving relationships and positive behaviours.
How long is the course?
The course is a 6-week program run over 6 consecutive nights with 8 – 12 participants.
How does it work?
Participants (parents and carers going through separation) and course group facilitators meet together.
The group facilitators are there to:
- educate participants;
- provide information;
- facilitate discussion;
- provide the opportunity for self-reflection;
- facilitate learning; and
- develop new skills.
The focus is on developing a positive and practical approach to separation, teaching new skills to assist yourself and importantly, support your children.
The program also assists in gaining techniques to address any negative habits or thoughts and to manage strong emotions constructively, creating a “new normal” for your family.
Will this impact my family law matter if I do the course?
Yes – in a positive way!
The Court looks positively on those parents who are seeking ways to improve themselves, ultimately for the benefit of their greater family unit.
The Court will often order parents to undertake this course, or one similar, to try and empower them with the tools and behaviours to positively support their child or children. If parents decide to do this prior to any Court proceedings, there is little negative inference that can be drawn; only a positive.
Can I only do this with a Court order?
Sometimes the Court will order parents and carers to do this but often, parents or carers can attend this program voluntarily. We often encourage our clients to participate.
You can contact us for further information about this course and its potential benefits in your specific circumstances.
What feedback have we received?
For many of our clients who have undertaken the program, they have found it to be incredibly helpful in considering alternate ways to communicate with the other parent.
They have also found support in other group participants who are going through similar experiences.
Initially, some people can be apprehensive as to whether they will get anything from the program. We have found at the end of the 6 weeks, clients are thanking us for encouraging them to enrol and complete the course.
How much does it cost?
The course is run by Relationships Australia. What you pay is assessed on your income and what is affordable to you.
You would need to contact Relationships Australia to see how much you would be required to pay to participate in the course.
How do I book?
Prior to participating in the 6-week program, you need to undertake an intake assessment (or pre-group interview) to determine your suitability for the course. This intake session is conducted by appointment only.
Find this article interesting or useful?
You may also like to read:
- What does parental responsibility mean?
- Parenting orders for spending time with the children
- Can a child decide which parent they want to live with?
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About the Author
Today’s article is written by family lawyer Kristie Smith. You can learn more about Kristie’s expertise and experience here or get in touch with him directly about your family law matters.
The information contained in this article is of general nature and should not be construed as legal advice.