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Did you get divorced recently?

Did you get divorced recently?  Do you know how many other couples did the same?  Well in 2016, sorry I don’t have the numbers for 2017, I guess it takes a while to calculate the figures, but if you did divorce in 2016 you were one of the 106,959 couples who also divorced. Yes, even I was surprised by the number. (Office for National Statistics)

That is a lot of people getting a divorce.  All those loving feelings no longer around, all those wishes and hopes, dreams for the future all now part of just that, dreams, that were once going to be reality and see you through to the sunset of your life.  Sorry to make you feel worse, but with an increase of divorce up 5.8%, from 2015, there are some hard choices you now have to make.

If you are lucky some aspects of your life will stay the same, work, bricks and mortar that you call home, friends – maybe, extended family – hopeful.  Sorry I am not painting a helpful picture, but things do not have to be so bleak.  Take for instance your children, yes children who suddenly take on a new existence, new needs, new wants and most importantly new demands. Then you realise your role and job as a parent has changed, you are either no longer living with them each day, or caring for children alone.  Either way the role of a parent is different and dare I say it, scary.  Surely it cannot be that difficult, after all you know your children and they know you, so that is fine, nothing can go wrong, one less thing to worry about.

However, we all know that is not entirely true, caring for children is not the easiest job in the world and with changes come even bigger responsibilities, both on a practical level and an emotional level.  Dealing with divorce through the Courts is fraught with difficulties, not least the taking of sides, never easy and often it is the children who suffer and get lost in the myriad of he said/she said allegations.  The need for time out, to have space to think and work out how you really feel is not easy to find.  Years of experience has taught us having the space and opportunity to work out some of the issues about divorce and what happens to your children is crucial if children are not to struggle with this massive change in their life and, yours.  Acquiring new skills, you thought you may never really need, is an area that adults suddenly realise could be the difference between how often, or not, they see their children. The novelty can wear off very quickly when children are sleeping on a camp bed in the spare room, especially if this is a regular weekly occurrence. Then your ex-partner tells you the children need more than a take-away, don’t give them fizzy drinks all the time and what about getting yourself organised if you want to see the children more often or take them on holiday, the list can go on and on.

There are not many programmes, or support, out there that offer divorced parents the opportunity to address the practical issues as well as the emotional issues of divorce. Support is at hand. There is a unique programme which has been established to help you think about your new role of parenting at a distance, taking into account all those areas that people generally talk about as a battle that can never be won, or won at a cost to your sanity or long term bank balance!  Parenting Re-defined gives you the opportunity to consider the needs of your children, yourself, the introduction of new relationships and how to go forward in a positive way, so you can re-establish or maintain the relationship you had with them before The Divorce.

Your children need to have and should expect to have, both their parents still parenting them, as you did before the divorce, you also need to get on with your life and, juggling the two can be difficult but it can be done, just in a different way, which is what Parenting Re-defined is all about. 

We only run small groups for our Parenting Re-defined programme, twelve individuals as well as offering support to put into practice some of the issues we discuss.  For further information and cost, please email us at enquiries@familyfocuslincolnshire.org.uk

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HELPING TO HEAL DIVORCING FAMILIES

Family support experts are on a mission to put couples going through the upheaval of divorce, on course for a more positive future.

The FamilyFocus Lincolnshire Consultancy said the growing incidence of family break-up, has encouraged the organisation to offer a programme designed to help mums and dads – who find themselves ‘parenting at a distance’ and struggling with its impact on their children – to ‘couples and individuals’ outside its home county.

The independent Community Interest Company (CIC) said that divorce changes the dynamics of parenting for divorcing couples when one of the partners is no longer living with their children every day or is having to care for them alone and it is keen to help parents in other parts of the UK, as well as Lincolnshire.

Issues can crop up which they may not have foreseen and life can turn out to be scary.

Chief Executive Office Hilary Sharpe said, ‘Dealing with divorce through the courts can be fraught with difficulties and often children can start to feel lost as each party makes counter-allegations.

“The need for parents to take time out, have space to think and work out how they really feel is hard to find. Yet years of experience have taught us that having that space and opportunity to work through some of the issues surrounding divorce is crucial.

“It is vital if young people are to avoid struggling with what is a massive change in their lives and those of their parents.”

Mrs Sharpe said adults may suddenly realise they need to acquire new skills and that taking action could make the difference between how often, or not, they see their children in the future.

“There are not many programmes that offer divorced parents the opportunity to address the practical, as well as the emotional, issues linked to divorce.

“That is why we feel we are filling a gap with ours, which aims to give them the chance to consider the needs of their children and re-establish or maintain the relationship they had them before their marriage breakdown.”

FamilyFocus Consultancy Lincolnshire is spreading the word about its Parenting Re-defined programme in the wake of the latest statistics (2016) which show that nationally there were more than 106,950 divorces involving opposite-sex couples – a rise of 5.8 per cent on 2015. These figures do not include same-sex divorces. (Source: ONS)

This is 30 per cent down on the peak period seen in 2003 (and is in line with a decline in marriages over the same period).  The most common grounds for divorce are cited as unreasonable behaviour).

The Lincolnshire Consultancy’s programme is taking the form of either a seven-week course – with weekly sessions lasting three hours – or a more condensed programme over a shorter period of time.

“Sessions will be led by both a man and a woman and delivered flexibly and we are keen to work with people in both a “teaching” and a “home” setting. The course will be followed up by telephone support or Skype and/or home visits,” added Mrs Sharpe.

Referrals/enquiries can be made by statutory, voluntary, legal or community organisations and people can also self-refer. The cost for taking part in the Parenting Re-defined programme is available to individuals and couples, on request.

The Parenting Re-defined programme can also be used as evidence for court purposes, showing that a parent or parents have fully explored how this life-changing period will impact on their family.

FamilyFocus Consultancy Lincolnshire works with families in a variety of ways, offering preventative and early intervention for those facing difficulties, crisis support and support for adults with autism within the working environment.

The CIC is committed to work with families for prolonged periods (in some cases for up to 10 years) and it ploughs any earnings back into the development of the organisation.

 

 

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Early Intervention Support

Are you going through the early stages of divorce, maybe even thinking about this?  If so, you will know this is a time of turmoil, uncertainty, fear and anxiety.  It consumes all your thoughts, all the time.  Familyfocus are able to offer your whole family support and guidance at this time through our early intervention work.  This gives you all time to explore and work out your feelings and with support help to move forward.  Find out more, go to What We Offer, scroll down to  Supervised Contact and have a look.

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Not another parenting course

 

 

 

 Not Another Parenting Course!

 

Being a parent is hard. It’s not like new babies come with an instruction manual. The most important thing I have learnt since becoming a mum myself, is that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. We are all human and sometimes make mistakes.

Now imagine that your child is autistic and sometimes presents extremely challenging behaviour. How would you deal with it? How would you deal with the ignorant people who tut or stare when your child has a meltdown?

Before my son was diagnosed with autism, I struggled to understand him. Since his diagnosis, whilst understanding what generally drives his behaviour, I am still lost as to how I can help him. The older and stronger he gets, the more violent his outburst are. Does it mean that I haven’t disciplined my child or set clear boundaries? Does it make me a bad parent?

After an autism diagnosis, as a parent you are left to cope alone. Desperately sourcing any help I could find, I attended my first parenting course. Recently I have completed my fourth. All the courses were different, yet they all teach essentially the same things: routines, boundaries and consequences. The reason I have been to so many courses is probably because I am still looking for answers to my child’s difficult behaviour and even more so, way to manage it.  Professionals seem to think this would be a good start!

 

The strategies I have learnt on these courses have good results for neurotypical children. The problem I have is that many of them make my child’s behaviour worse. Telling a demand avoidant child to stop what they are doing and go into quiet time is never going to work. In fact, I would likely be verbally or physically assaulted by my child for suggesting it. Telling a child, the consequence of not turning the TV off to do homework means no TV for an hour, would make a neurotypical child less likely to do it again. My child would likely throw things at the TV, shout at me and after all this, would not have learnt anything. Why? He hasn’t made a conscious decision to do these things. Most of the time, he can’t even remember what he has done. When he does remember, he is full of guilt and self-loathing. Does punishing a child who already hates themselves and their actions achieve anything?

The staff at Familyfocus have been a wonderful source of information and their support group, a fantastic place to meet other parents with the same issues as my family. Now, with this charity, I find myself not only taking part in yet another parenting course, but training to be a facilitator. Why am I so excited by this new course, after my dismay with the others? The Cygnet Programme, devised by Barnardo’s is a parenting programme specifically designed for parents with children on the autistic spectrum. It is a very interactive course with lots of ideas and activities to help in parenting an autistic child. It is a programme that focuses on the communication and sensory issues that many autistic people struggle with and there are separate sessions on understanding and managing behaviour.

Finally, I have some of the answers that I have been searching for. I will never be the perfect parent, but I will keep on trying to understand my child better and help him develop into a confident, happy and independent adult. Even if it means just one more parenting course!

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