Coparenting Children with Disabilities by Jeremy Kanter


Although divorce rates are high among parents of children with disabilities (e.g., Hartley, Barker, Seltzer, Greenberg,  Bolt, Floyd, & Orsmond, 2010) coparenting education classes are just beginning to develop tracks, components, or programs for separating or divorcing parents who have children with disabilities. At the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) annual conference last month, the fact that coparenting education classes have neglected to attend to special circumstances linked to coparenting a child with a disability was discussed in a few of the sessions I attended.  I followed up with a few coparenting education classes when I returned from the conference and was energized to learn that some of the online programs are beginning to address this issue!

Michelle Muncy of  Online Parenting Programs is one example of an online program that is planning to develop an online coparenting education program for parents who are coparenting children with disabilities. Focus on Kids, an online coparenting education class developed by Dr. David Schramm and colleagues at The University of Missouri is another example. Focus on Kids now offers fact sheets for families with special circumstances. The fact sheets that Dr. Schramm and colleagues have created for divorcing parents who have children with disabilities cover a range of topics that are especially relevant to this special circumstance; some of the topics include:

  •  Custodial rights or what to expect as a primary caregiver of a child with a disability
  • How to divide medical costs for children with disabilities
  • The children’s cognitive capacity to understand their parents’ divorce
  • Special issues that need to be documented in parenting plans
  • Issues specific to children who have life-threatening, chronic, psychological & behavioral disabilities

With the high divorce rates for parents of children with disabilities, some of these issues in the Focus on Kidsresources are crucial components to coparenting education. Although many parents experience similar challenges when going through the separation or divorce process, it is important for programs to address the unique needs and challenges linked to families with special circumstances. Special circumstances are not limited to children with disabilities; coparenting when intimate partner violence, alcoholism, or military duties influence parents’ roles also provide unique challenges in the separation processes. In some situations, one parent may be largely absent from the child’s life, and these families may benefit from additional support in educational settings (online or face-to-face). Although the transition to tailoring information to families with special circumstances has been slow, it is promising to see that programs have begun to address these issues!

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Search Terms by Young People about their Parents’ Divorce


My colleagues and I have been exploring the resources that are available to teens on the web.  We have conducted searches using various search terms that we think might be used by teens to find material.

We also have inserted the same terms into Google Trends to see the patterns.  Most of the terms we have used are not frequent enough to register in Google Trends, but a few are… Below is the figure that illustrates the pattern of 5 terms over the period from 2004-2015.

  • Blue — “parents divorce”  Most common search term
  • Purple– “divorce parents” Next most common search term
  • Green– “divorce of parents” 3rd most common search term, but declining 
  • Orange– “parents split up” This search term begins to show up in 2009. 
  • Yellow– “parents separating” This search terms begins to show up in 2009.  

Google Trend--Popular Searches

3 interesting programs for divorcing parents– free


Just stumbled on to 3 interesting programs designed for parents in various martial transition situations– ProudtoParent, for parents who have never married, UptoParents, for parents who are getting divorced or who have already divorced, and WhileWeHeal, for parents who are struggling with their marital relationship.  

All of these programs require parents and others to log in, but they are all free.  

Haven’t reviewed these carefully, but worth looking at some more.

Teens & Social Media


As we think about how to talk with teens about divorce issues, here are some reminders about their use of social media.

Auntie Sparknotes Advice for Teens on Divorce


Here are some helpful ideas from Auntie Sparknotes

http://community.sparknotes.com/2013/02/21/auntie-sparknotes-i-want-my-parents-to-get-back-together

http://community.sparknotes.com/2011/07/06/auntie-sparknotes-a-dad-by-any-other-name

http://community.sparknotes.com/2012/07/30/auntie-sparknotes-my-parents-divorced-but-theyre-still-feuding

http://community.sparknotes.com/2012/10/18/auntie-sparknotes-my-parents-are-splitting-up

 

Jennifer Aniston : Talks to Young People about coping with her parents’ divorce


Two minutes of advice by Jennifer Aniston about the challenges of dealing with her parents’ divorce.

http://on.aol.com/video/how-my-parents-divorce-shaped-me–from-jennifer-aniston-518613321

Information for Teens


Several students have been looking for material for teens so that we can begin to understand what is available to teens online.  Here is some of what we have found.  We are not recommending any of this material.  Let us know if you are familiar with other material.

http://www.wikihow.com/Deal-With-Your-Parents%27-Divorce

https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070615234730AAbgo1I

http://www.safeteens.org/relationships/dealing-with-divorce/

http://nypost.com/2014/10/22/10-reasons-im-a-better-person-because-my-parents-are-divorced/

http://www.lifeway.com/Article/My-parents-are-divorcing-24-Hour-Counselor

There are many videos on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=my+parents+are+getting+a+divorce