Cooperative Parenting and Divorce, Shielding Children from Conflict

(For Divorced, Divorcing, Separated, and Never Married Individuals)

 (Eight Sessions - (8 Weeks)



The Cooperative Parenting and Divorce program is a video-based, psychoeducational program designed to assist divorcing or divorced parents in reducing parental conflict and the risk factors that influence the child’s post-divorce adjustment.  The program addresses the relationship between the separate households created as a result of divorce.  It is designed to improve the quality of the parental relationship in situations of joint custody, separate maintenance, change of custody, and paternity.

The Group Format is suited for those parents exhibiting minimal to moderate conflict.  In order to determine the level of conflict exhibited between parents, each parent should complete as assessment to determine the frequency and intensity of the following behaviors:

  • Difficulty managing their anger or hurt without putting their children in the middle
  • Criticism of the other parent in the presence of the child
  • Criticism of the other parent in the presence of friends, co-workers, and family
  • Verbal quarreling in the presence of the child
  • Verbal abuse of co-parent (no threat or history of physical violence)
  • Attempts to form or an alliance with the child against the other parent
  • Threats to limit the time spent with the other parent
  • Threats of litigation
  • Interrogation of the child regarding personal matters in the life of the other parent
  • Poor impulse control
  • Anxiety regarding their child’s emotional or physical safety while under the supervision of the other parent
  • Inability to co-parent effectively



The overall emphasis of Cooperative Parenting and Divorce is to offer children of divorce the opportunity to grow in a home environment free from being caught in the middle of their parents’ hostility.  The goals of the Cooperative Parenting and Divorce Group Format are to:

  • Assist parents in shifting their role from former spouses to co-parents
  • Educate parents regarding the impact of parental conflict on their child’s development
  • Help parents identify their contribution to conflict while increasing impulse control
  • Teach parents anger management, communication and conflict-resolution skills
  • Educate parents about children’s issues on divorce.


Family relationships do not disappear when a marriage ends in separation or divorce, for the sake of their children, divorcing parents should continue to communicate with each other in all matters of child-rearing.  The ability of parents to interact with each other greatly impacts on the child’s post-divorce adjustment.  A child’s adjustment to divorce is determined in part by how well divorcing parents share the joint responsibility of raising their children in a cooperative atmosphere.  Unrelenting parental conflict is the single most common cause of poor adjustment in children following divorce.  If parental conflict is not treated, children may develop serious psychological difficulties that will continue into adulthood.  Regardless of the family structure, children need parents who are dedicated to their well-being, who support each other, and who separate their personal problems and conflicts from their role as co-parents.

Benefits Children by:

Although children are not directly involved in the parent component, they benefit from their parents’ commitment to care.  Since the primary goal of Cooperative Parenting and Divorce is to reduce parental conflict, the program benefits children by:

  • Reducing their symptoms of stress as parental conflict decreases
  • Diminishing their sense of being caught in loyalty binds
  • Creating a more relaxed home atmosphere, allowing them to adjust more effectively
  • Teaching effective communication and conflict-resolution skills as modeled by their parents
  • Increasing the likelihood of keeping two parents active in their lives
  • Enhancing their confidence and self-esteem by creating an optimal environment for growth
  • Reducing the likelihood of adolescent drug and alcohol problems, teenage pregnancy, dropping out of school, and crime
  • Decreasing their likelihood of relationship difficulties and divorce in the future.

Benefits Divorcing or Divorced Parents by:

  • Helping them rebuild their lives as separate individuals
  • Teaching effective communication and conflict-resolution skills helpful in their parenting relationship as well as with other relationships in the workplace
  • Helping them recognize the bond between the child and both parents
  • Fostering sensitivity to the child’s needs
  • Focusing on present child-rearing issues rather on past marital issues
  • Directing them to accept responsibility for their own actions that contribute to stressful interactions

Dates, Times and Location of Training: TBD