Research shows that, in America right now, about 25 percent of families are single-parent families with children younger than 18. Additionally, each year more than a million children experience their parents' divorce.
These large-scale figures, while perhaps difficult to fathom, underscore the widespread need for healthy co-parenting after divorce. Multiple studies have shown that when co-parents have the skills and knowledge to resolve conflicts and make the kids' well-being the top priority, the children are far more likely to be healthy and well-adjusted.
Researchers at Florida State University are currently doing important work -- creating an online toolkit -- to help parents in our state and throughout the country build the skills they need for healthy, post-divorce co-parenting.
The project, simply called Successful Co-Parenting After Divorce, is aimed at teaching parents how to resolve conflicts in a healthy way and create a positive environment for children so they can grow and develop healthily. The plan is to make the toolkit widely available at no cost to parents, other family members, lawyers and mental health professionals.
Researchers are also planning to have the online course certified as a mandatory parenting program for parents who divorce in Florida and Massachusetts, and the program could eventually be expanded to all the states that require parenting education.
Specifically, the program, which will include engaging videos and real-life testimonials, has these objectives:
- Promote co-parents' conflict-resolution and communication skills
- Educate parents and children about the effects of divorce and how conflict can affect the family
- Train professionals, including lawyers, social workers and mental health professionals, on how to facilitate healthy co-parenting
The Tallahassee Democrat has more on this exciting project, which is expected to launch online this fall.
For more on developing effective parenting plans, please see our Time Sharing and Parenting Plans overview.