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Tag Archives: shared parenting

Parenting Education Programs Throughout Connecticut: Middlesex, New Britain, and New Haven Judicial Districts

MIDDLESEX JUDICIAL DISTRICT

1. Roeder and Polansky, Family and Child Associates

(860) 347-9911

300 Plaza Middlesex

College Street

Middletown, CT 06457

2. CT Council of Family Service Agencies

(to attend a Parenting Education Program at the agency under number 2., call 866-883-1624):

Catholic Charities, Inc.

St. Francis of AssisiChurch

10 Elm Street

Middletown, CT 06457

NEW BRITAIN JUDICIAL DISTRICT

1. CT Council of Family Service Agencies

(to attend a Parenting Education Program at one of the following agencies, call one of the numbers below):

A. Catholic Charities

860-225-3561

90 Franklin Square

New Britain, CT 06051

B. Community Mental Health Affiliates

860-224-8192

55 Winthrop Street

New Britain, CT 06502

2. Wheeler Clinic

860-827-2043 ext. 2

334 Farmington Avenue

Plainville, CT 06062

NEW HAVEN JUDICIAL DISTRICT

CT Council of Family Service Agencies

(to attend a Parenting Education Program at one

of the following agencies, call 203-389-5599):

A. Catholic Charities

St. George Church Education Building

33 Whitfield Street

Guilford, CT 06437

B. Catholic Charities

203-235-2507

61 Colony Street

Meriden, CT 06451

C. Catholic Charities

501 Lombard Street

New Haven, CT 06513

D. Jewish Family Service of New Haven

1440 Whalley Avenue

New Haven, CT 06515

 
 

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Divorce Coping Tasks for Children

Children’s Divorce-Related Coping Tasks

  1. Acknowledging the reality of the divorce and achieving a realist cognitive understanding of it
  2. Disengaging from the parental conflict and resuming the child’s agenda
  3. Resolving the many losses that divorce imposes
  4. Resolving problems of anger and self-blame
  5. Acknowledging the permanence of divorce
  6. Achieving realistic hopes about one’s future relationship.

Parental Behaviors That Encourage Child Adjustment

  1. Responding appropriately to children’s divorce-related behavior
  2. Encouraging a positive post-divorce relationship with the other parent
  3. Developing a cooperative parental relationship
 
 

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Shared Family Plan: Eighteen to Thirty-Six Months (Toddler), Part II

It is important that each parent have the opportunity to become competent and comfortable in all aspects of the child’s daily routine. This includes bathing, feeding, napping, playing, reading, and arranging age-appropriate activities with other children.

 Parents with a child of this age should consider:

  •  The amount of childcare that each parent provided before separation as well as the child’s temperament.
  • If a parent was not regularly involved in caregiving, two to three daytime contacts weekly with the non-residential parent allows the parent-child bond to develop and strengthen as caregiving skills are mastered. The addition of an overnight visit may be planned after a short time if the child does not show signs of undue stress.
  • It is preferable to begin with overnights spaced throughout the week, particularly if dealing with an only child.
  • If both parents were involved in every aspect of childcare before the separation, the child should be able to be away from either parent for two or three days. Depending upon the child’s temperament, parenting may be shared on a reasonably equal basis.
  • Daily telephone contact at a regular hour may be reassuring to both the child and the absent parent.
  • Keeping a picture of the absent parent with the child in the child’s room.
  • Children at this age do not have an adult’s concept of time. Frequent contact helps the parent and child establish and maintain a mutually supportive relationship.
 
 

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Shared Family Plan: Eighteen to Thirty-Six Months (Toddler), Part I

The period from eighteen months to three years is one of rapid physical, emotional and social change. Toddlers are becoming more aware of the world around them. They may have formed attachments to many caregivers (i.e. parents, grandparents, daycare  providers, close family friends). They are beginning to trust that their caregivers will meet their physical and emotional needs. Toddlers can respond to different parenting styles.

 They are becoming more independent and are developing the ability to comfort  themselves (i.e. favorite blanket or toy or thumbsucking).

 Healthy children of this age are “full of themselves” and may express their independence by saying “No” to requests and demands. Some children at this age may become fearful of separations, so that transitions between homes may be difficult. Some children may cling to a parent or cry at the separation from one or both parents. Resistance to exchanges is normal for many children. This behavior does not necessarily mean that the other parent is not a good parent or that the child does not want to be with one parent or the other.

 If parents share driving, it is sometimes easier for children if the parent they are with drops them off to the other parent. This avoids interrupting ongoing activities that sometimes occur when a parent comes to pick up the child, and it signals parental support for the transition. Predictable schedules and supporting the relationship with the other parent can make exchanges easier. Toddlers are particularly sensitive to tension, anger and violence in the parental relationship.

 
 

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Shared Family Plan: Designing a Plan, Nine to Eighteen Months

Fundamentals

 Between the ages of nine and eighteen months, the transition from infant to toddler gradually takes place. There is great and rapid skill development, including motor  accomplishments (crawling, standing and walking), communication from sounds and smiles to simple words, and beginning expressions of simple emotions (hugs, kisses, anger, fear and anxiety).

 

Predictability and consistency remain important. Babies can respond to multiple nurturing caregivers if there is sensitivity to their cues and needs, and regularity in their waking, eating, and sleeping schedules. Babies may continue to express fear and anxiety if a familiar caregiver is not there to comfort them.

Designing the Plan

It is important for each parent to have the opportunity to:

  • Participate in daily routines such as feeding, bathing, napping, playing.
  • Have frequent contact with the child. Separations of more than three or four days from either parent will interfere with a healthy attachment to that parent.
  • Establish similar routines in each home by creating a communication log to be shared between the parents that describes the child’s daily experience.
  • If a parent has not been involved in caregiving previously, frequent short visits several times weekly will help to develop a mutually secure relationship and allow the parent to master the tasks required in caring for a baby. Daytime visits may be lengthened gradually, and overnights added as the parent and child develop a stronger bond and the parent is comfortably able to attend to feeding, bathing, diapering, soothing and bedtime needs.
  • When both parents are working outside the home and a child is with a third-party caregiver during the workday, many parents split the weekend and consider an additional one      or two overnights with the non-residential parent during the week as well as other mid-week contact. Although this is quite workable if the non-residential parent was “hands on” with childcare when they lived together, parents should remain sensitive to the child’s response to several caregivers and multiple transitions.
  • If both parents participated in all aspects of childcare on a reasonably consistent basis before the separation, the plan should allow for shared parenting to continue.
 
 

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Shared Family Plan: Birth to Nine Months, Part II

Visits several times weekly with non-residential parents are usually recommended for this age. These visits should provide ample opportunity for such care-giving functions as feeding, playing, bathing, soothing and putting the infant to sleep, whether for a nap or for the night. This will help non-residential parents maintain or build familiarity between themselves and the infant.

If a non-residential parent has not been involved in caregiving previously, short visits of several hours every few days will help to develop a mutually secure relationship, allowing the parent to master the tasks and sensitivity required to care for an infant. As the caregiving skills are mastered and the parent-child bond strengthens, the plan may include longer days.

Non-residential parents of children this age who have been active, involved caregivers may begin overnights, preferably in familiar surroundings. Overnights are more likely to be successful when parents have shared parental tasks prior to separation and communicate effectively about their baby.

To develop a healthy attachment to both parents, an infant should not be away from either parent for more than a few days. Many infants demonstrate a caregiver preference.

Extended separation from that primary caregiver should be avoided. Communication between the parents about the baby is essential for good infant adjustment. A daily communication log should be maintained and exchanged between the parents noting eating, sleeping, diapering and any new developments.

 
 

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Shared Parenting Strategies: Creating a Shared Family Schedule

Since no research supports a given number of hours or days that children should spend with each parent, the information provided discusses what arrangements seem to work for other co-parents. As parents, you are in the best position to determine what schedule will meet the needs of your child.

Before designing a plan for your family, you should consider your own unique situation. The Family Assessment set out below will help you develop a framework for your individualized plan.

 

Raising children is difficult for all parents. When parents live in separate homes the challenges are greater because relationships are more complicated. Sometimes one parent disagrees about how much time a child should spend with the other. Before planning a time-sharing arrangement for your family, it is helpful to consider:

  •  The age, temperament and social adjustment of each child.
  • Any special needs of each child (medical, developmental, educational, emotional or social).
  • The quality of relationships between siblings and any other extended family members.
  • Each child’s daily schedule.
  • Care giving responsibilities of each parent before the separation.
  • How you would like to share responsibilities both now and in the future.
  • Availability of each parent as a caregiver.
  • Potential flexibility of each parent’s work schedule.
  • Distance between each parent’s home, workplace, and children’s schools.
  • The ability of parents to communicate and cooperate with each other.
  • The ability and willingness of each parent to learn basic care giving skills such as feeding, changing and bathing a young child; preparing a child for daycare or school; taking responsibility for helping with homework; assessing and attending to each child’s special emotional and social needs.

Often, someone who has not been an active parent prior to separation may wish to become more involved afterward. The initial parenting plan should allow that parent enough time to develop a closer relationship with the child, while at the same time recognizing the existing relationship. As the parent-child bond strengthens, changes can be made to the schedule.

These considerations should remain a basic reference as children move from one developmental stage to another and as time-sharing arrangements are modified from time to time.

 
 

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Shared Parenting Strategies: An Introduction

One of the most difficult challenges facing parents at the time of separation is deciding  how they will divide responsibility for and time with their children. Parents sometimes fear that loss of their adult relationship will also mean loss of their parent-child relationship. They are also concerned about the potential negative impact of their separation on their children’s healthy development.

 

Thanks to the large body of research completed over the last decade, we now have a better understanding of the impact of separation and divorce on children. Using this research makes it possible to better assess and meet their needs.

 

We now know that:

• Children do best when both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their children’s lives.

• Each parent has different and valuable contributions to make to their children’s  development.

• Children should have structured, routine time as well as unstructured time with each parent.

• Parents often find that it is better for their young children to spend more time with parents and less time with third-party caregivers, taking into consideration the number of transitions and the child’s need for stability. When both parents work, parents often begin planning their schedule with this in mind. A day-care provider or extended family member may be with the children most of the day, so parents should make every attempt to choose a mutually acceptable – and accessible – day-care provider.

• Parents should help their children maintain positive existing relationships, routines and activities.

• Communication and cooperation between parents are important in arranging children’s activities. Consistent rules and values in both households create a sense of security for children of any age.

• Parents should allow children to bring personal items back and forth between homes, no matter who purchased them.

• Parenting plans will need to be adjusted over time as each family member’s needs, schedules and circumstances change.

 

One of the most consistent research findings is that children are harmed when they are exposed to conflict between their parents. It is of critical importance that parents do not argue or fight when they are picking up or dropping off their children.

 
 

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