Avoiding the Parenting Potholes
Written by Janet Juroch
Through the coordination of the Garden Valley Hospital District and Marion Summers, M.ED, a Co-Parenting Class is being offered starting January 18th. The class will provide useful guides to maintain healthy co-parenting for the sake of the child. Parents who are separated, divorced or remarried may want to utilize this type of class so that they can maintain joint parenting roles.
In the class, Summers uses a workbook called the Co-Parenting ToolKit by Isolina Ricci. Summers says the same author wrote the textbook titled Mom’s House Dad’s House which will be also used in the class. “The Co-Parenting ToolKit,” Summers discussed, “is an easier to read step by step workbook with practical tools and written in parent speak”. The two books essentially go together for the class.
Class Goals: Summers will work on some goals with families for the seven week class which include helping parents heal the hurts and hard feelings that can come through divisions in families. This includes setting boundaries and learning how to communicate together when needed. This might mean less phone, texting or face-to-face conversations. Summers will teach when to recognize issues and build skills to react to these co-parenting situations.
Co-Parenting can be a struggle according to Summers. She feels the class is a practical resource for parents trying to figure out how to maintain co-parenting roles. The class will help with strengthening the family unit, minimizing the effects of separation, divorce and remarriage. The ultimate goal is to “put kids first”, according to Summers.
Teaching New Skills: Other important goals Summers will cover in the Co-parenting Class is to help teach skills of keeping kids out of the middle, problem solving, and curbing the use of toxic language about the other parent. Participants will learn tips to not let the children take over a “pseudo parent” role. Summers says this happens very often and the class will offer parents concepts to stay in charge effectively.
Some of the chapter outlines in the workbook include designing a workable family schedule and finding ways to fine tune parenting skills while helping the child. Parents will be shown perspectives so they can see when they need to be flexible or more limiting. Just an understanding of why they are taking the class in the first place will help to maneuver the “Co-parenting highway, relating to the other parent and avoiding communication potholes”, according the guidelines Summers teaches.
Summers has a Master Degree in Education and has been involved in parent education for 30 years. She has taught other classes sponsored by the Garden Valley Hospital Board including grieving classes. Response from people taking classes that Summers teaches have been positive and always are full.
Class Information: The Co-Parenting ToolKit workbook cost is $25 for each participant. The workbook will be theirs to keep after the class is over. Classes will be on Wednesdays starting January 18th from 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM at the Outreach Center on Banks-Lowman Rd. Last class will be on March 1, 2017. One of the rooms at the Outreach Center will be used for childcare, if needed.
Contact information: For more information call Marion Summers at her office phone 208-462-2762. She will be able to register and answer questions. Classes fill quickly and Summers wants to make sure there are enough books for everyone. If you know someone that would benefit from this class, please let them know this class is available.