A Better Beginning for Separating and Divorcing Families

A-Better-Beginning-logo

About the series:

Separation or divorce is a significant crisis time in the life of a family. The months, and perhaps years that come before, during and after, shake the foundations of a family and reach into all areas of family and individual life. The losses experienced during this time are at least as great as those of a death. There are, however, no funerals for the ending of a relationship.

“A Better Beginning” strives to help parents do just that . . . create a better beginning. The series is designed to help couples navigate through the process of redefining their family. Even though parents may distance themselves from each other, they are parents – forever responsible together (and perhaps someday, along with others),for their family.

This program fulfills the Wisconsin Supreme Court Statute 767.115 for education to separating and divorcing parents.

 

How does the “A Better Beginning” program work?

Parents (and their minor children ages 6 – 16) will attend two evening group sessions of two hours each, for two weeks in a row. See the  for upcoming dates.

To satisfy the statute, parents must:

  1. Participate in both 2-hours sessions. (Parents have the option of attending sessions together or separately.)
  2. Do homework assignments.
  3. Make sure their children, ages 6 through 16, participate in both sessions and complete their homework assignments.

Upon completion of the course, each parent will receive a certificate of completion. We will also proved a copy to the Clerk of Court, which will be added to your file.

 

Will “A Better Beginning” help us?

YES! Long-term studies have shown that families who receive quality support and learn new skills during separation and divorce fare much better in many areas of life than those who don’t.

HOW? The ways parents conduct themselves greatly affects the experience, adjustment and outcome for their child(ren).

This program helps parents to:

  • Develop a strong co-parenting relationship and a quality co-parenting plan.
  • Improve communication with one another and their children.
  • Manage difficult conversations successfully.
  • Work together for the best interests of their children.
  • Protect their children from the harmful effects of the divorce process.
  • Recognize the ways and times that children feel responsible, distressed, or put “in the middle” of parent situations during and after divorce.
  • Learn and use important skills for stress management and support, positive communication, problem-solving and conflict.
  • Navigate the grieving and healing process, and help their children through grief and healing.
  • Strengthen positive parenting strategies.

 

Children and youth will learn to:

  • Communicate their needs and concerns with parents.
  • Use positive coping strategies and a support network.
  • Understand that their parent’s divorce is not their fault.
  • Adjust to the many changes that accompany divorce.
  • Feel more secure, and less worried and stressed in the midst of the divorce process.

 

How do I register for “A Better Beginning”?

It is the responsibility of each individual parent to register themselves and their child(ren).  There is a $30.00 per parent registration fee. There is no charge for children.

If financial help is needed, scholarships are available. You may make a confidential request for a scholarship via your online registration form.

To reserve a place in the classes, parents need to complete and submit the registration online at A Better Beginning Registration Form as well as send the $30 per parent registration fee to the Buffalo County UW-Extension Office. Participants are not registered and will not receive a confirmation email with important class instructions until payment is received.

 2017 A Better Beginning Class Dates

Note: A Better Beginning sessions are two-part classes, must attend both classes to meet court requirements.

All classes are scheduled on Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

 

1/4/2017 and 1/11/2017

3/1/2017 and 3/15/2017

May, August, October and December class dates for 2017 TBD

 

Web site for Parents:

We Can Parent Together

This website gives parents helpful information regarding how children may react to their divorce.

 

Web sites for Children and Young Adults:

“It’s My Life” ~ PBS Kids It My Life

This site fills you in on divorce topics like “the big questions” and “dealing with the Big D”. It also has a special feature on step-families. On this cools interactive site, you can even watch videos, take quizzes, and create your own journal.

Kids’ Turn ~ Kids Turn

This web site has its very own section for kids like you! Check out the artwork, the questions and answers section, and the activities!

Kid’s Health – A Kid’s Guide to Divorce ~ Kids Health

This site has a great overview of topics from our class and is fun too. You can even get information sent straight to your email in box!

 

 

Movies about divorce for children and young adults:

Mrs. Doubtfire

Columbus, C. (Director). (1993). Mrs. Doubtfire. [Motion Picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox.

Bye Bye Love

Weiseman, S. (Director). (1995). Bye Bye Love. [Motion Picture]. United States: Starz.

Kramer vs. Kramer

Benton, R. (1979). Kramer vs. Kramer. [Motion Picture]. United States: Sony Pictures

 

 

Books about divorce and separation for children and young adults:

Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families

Brown L. K., & Brown, M. (1986). Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families. New York, NY: Little Brown & Company.

My Parents are Divorced, Too: A Book for Kids by Kid

Ford, M., Ford, A. & Ford, S. (2006). My Parents are Divorced, Too: A Book for Kids By Kids. Washington, D.C.: Magination Press.

What in the World Do You Do When Your Parents Divorce?: A Survival Guide for Kids

Winchester, K., & Beyer, R. (2001). What in the World Do You Do When Your Parents Divorce?: A Survival Guide for Kids. Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing, Inc.

My Parents are Getting Divorced

Cadier, F. & Daly, M. (2004).My Parents are Getting Divorced. New York, NY: Amulet Books.

When Your Parents Split Up: How To Keep Yourself Together

Swan-Jackson, A. (1997). When Your Parents Split Up: How To Keep Yourself Together. New York, NY: Price Stern Sloan.

Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two

Ricci, I. (2006). Mom’s House, Dad’s House for Kids: Feeling at Home in One Home or Two. New York, NY: Fireside Publishers.

How To Survive Your Parents’ Divorce: Kids Advice to Kids

Kimball, G. (1994). How To Survive Your Parents’ Divorce: Kids Advice to Kids. San Francisco, CA: Equality Press.

The Divorce Helpbook for Kids

MacGregor, C. (2001). The Divorce Helpbook for Kids. Atascadero, CA: Impact Publishers, Inc.

The Divorce Helpbook for Teens

MacGregor, C. (2004). The Divorce Helpbook for Teens. Atascadero, CA: Impact Publishers, Inc.

Divorce is Not the End of the World: Zoe’s and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids

Stern, E. S. (1997). Divorce is Not the End of the World: Zoe’s and Evan’s Coping Guide for Kids. Berkeley, CA: Tricycle Press.

Mama and Daddy Bear’s Divorce

Spelman, C. M. (1998). Mama and Daddy Bear’s Divorce. Morton Grove: IL: Albert Whitman & Company.

Two Homes

Masurel, C. (2001). Two Homes. Cambridge, MS: Candlewick Press.

How Do I Feel About My Parents’ Divorce

Cole, J. (1997). How Do I Feel About My Parents’ Divorce. Brookfield, CT: Copper Beech Books.

HELP! A Girl’s Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies

Pleasant Company Publications, ed. (1999). HELP! A Girl’s Guide to Divorce and Stepfamilies. Middleton, WI: Pleasant Company Publications.

 

 

Instructors:

Mary Wood, M.S. ~ Buffalo & Pepin Counties Family Living Agent
mary.wood@ces.uwex.edu

Annie Lisowski, M.S. ~ Buffalo County Youth Development Educator
annie.lisowski@ ces.uwex.edu