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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Co-Parenting for Resilience benefits both parents and children

STILLWATER, Okla. – When a couple exchanges vows at their wedding, the last thing they are thinking will happen is getting divorced. Going through a divorce is not something people want to experience, especially for those who have minor children. It is a difficult situation for everyone involved.

However, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers divorcing parents a program with the insights, strategies and skills necessary to reduce the stress and conflict associated with divorce and promote adjustment and resilience among their children.

Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension’s Co-Parenting for Resilience class meets the requirements of House Bill 2249, which requires divorcing parents to participate in co-parenting classes, said Ron Cox, OSU Cooperative Extension family science specialist.

“We’ve seen a lot of success with the program. The requirements of HB 2249 went into effect November 2014. In 2015, there were 425 classes held in 58 of the 77 counties across the state,” Cox said. “Nearly 2,500 parents participated in the classes, with another 322 completing the online version.”

One of the things that sets Co-Parenting for Resilience above other options is OSU Cooperative Extension has been offering co-parenting classes and curriculum for more than two decades. Over time the program evolved into what it is today and offers parents the most up-to-date research and strategies on marriage, divorce and children.

A multidisciplinary team of OSU researchers worked with Extension educators, judges and community members to develop today’s Co-Parenting for Resilience class, which uses lectures, discussions, videos and interactive activities to help parents figure out the best ways to help their children adjust to divorce.

Cox said, generally, in co-parenting relationships, former spouses or partners make a conscious effort to reduce conflict between them and work together to overcome the challenges of divorce to help their children adjust to the new family structure.

OSU Cooperative Extension educators teaching the class hold degrees in the human sciences and are specially trained to work with divorcing couples.

“Even though parents are now mandated to attend the program, the feedback we get is extremely positive,” he said. “We get reports of how nearly all participants have changed their behavior toward their co-parent, as well as how they developed new strategies to be an effective parent during and after the divorce. In addition, 92 percent of participating parents would recommend the program to a friend going through divorce.”

Part of the class also includes follow-up materials for 12 months after completion to help reinforce the concepts and strategies learned.

“Divorce isn’t easy, even for adults, and especially for children,” Cox said. “Our goal is to increase parental cooperation and reduce the trauma experienced by the child, and Co-Parenting for Resilience does that.” 

For more information about Co-Parenting for Resilience classes, including costs and course dates, check with the local OSU Cooperative Extension office, or visit coparenting.okstate.edu.

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Trisha Gedon
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
Oklahoma State University
136 Agriculture North
Stillwater, OK  74078
405-744-3625 (phone)
405-744-5739 (fax)
trisha.gedon@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000