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Wednesday, November 11, 1998

Children of Divorced Parents Subject of Co-Parenting Seminars (see release for dates)

SALISBURY, MD--Parents facing the wrenching transition of separation or divorce can now get invaluable assistance in helping their children cope with the grief and anger of a family breakup. The Center for Conflict Resolution at Salisbury State University will begin co-parenting seminars on November 16 aimed at educating parents on how divorce affects children of different ages and how they can ease the change to a two-household family with communication and cooperation.

Co-parenting seminars are a growing trend in Maryland that, unlike the legal process of divorce, centers on the child. Parents will learn how divorce affects adults and children differently, talk about parenting issues with others in the same position, and develop a sensitivity to their children's needs in a very difficult time, says I. Eugene White, Ph.D., a certified parenting seminar trainer.

"Sometimes the children are victimized even by the most loving parent in a divorce," White said. "They're so wrapped up in their anger and grief as they go through a very difficult transition. The children are caught in the middle in ways that are detrimental to their sense of security."

White and M. Eileen Matlack, Ph.D. and director of the CARES (Children At Risk Educationally and Socially) program at Bennett Middle School in Salisbury, will lead the seminars with materials from the Children of Separation and Divorce Center in Columbia, MD, and Rockville, MD. Parents will receive a certificate upon successfully completing the seminar and will leave with invaluable new insight into their children's view of divorce and skills for conflict resolution, communication and adjustment strategies.

The Children of Separation and Divorce Center has done co-parenting education for 16 years and created this six-hour seminar in 1991. Fifteen Maryland counties now have certified parenting seminar trainers, and judges and masters can mandate that divorcing parents complete the seminar.

"I have great respect for all of the parents who come," said Risa J. Garon, executive director of the Children of Separation and Divorce Center.

"The majority of the parents are court-ordered, but at every single session there are parents who have come on their own. They all want to do what they can to prevent problems for their children."

The first co-parenting education seminar will be held from 6-9 p.m. Mondays, November 16 and 23, with parents attending both nights to complete the program. Divorcing parents do not have to attend the same session. Seminars are also scheduled for December 7 and 14, January 11 and 25, and February 15 and 22. Seminars for children and adolescents will start in the spring.

Seminars will take place at the Center for Conflict Resolution, 1100 Camden Avenue. The cost is $100 per two-night seminar per person. To register for the co-parenting education seminars, or for more information, call 410-219-2873.


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