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Initiative to Help Separating Parents in Nelson

A new initiative aimed at lessening the impact of separation on children starts in Nelson next week.

Relationship Services is running a free course for parents who are separating, or have separated. This new course, Parenting Apart, is based on practical experience, and focuses on the nuts and bolts of dealing with children during and after separation. It is based on the Ministry of Justice Information Programme for Parents, which was recently launched by the Minister of Courts, Rick Barker.

"When people split up, there are a whole lot of issues to be faced, and emotions are high. Research shows that ongoing conflict between parents has the biggest influence on how children cope with the separation," said Dr Glenda Dixon, Clinical Leader. "The good news is that if parents use some of the techniques and strategies discussed in Parenting Apart, children cope much better."

Parenting Apart helps people focus on what their children need most from them, and provides lots of ideas on different ways to keep a strong family in place even when parents live apart. It is a small group course run over four hours (two separate sessions, or one longer one). Partners from separating couples attend different courses so each can ask their own questions. Take home resources includes information about different options, what works for kids, and details about the legal and Family Court processes.

Parenting Apart is an information programme, not a counselling session. It is presented by Relationship Services counsellors who are experienced in working with families and couples during the separation process. "This course is a great addition to the range of services we offer. It provides information in addition to existing counselling and family violence programmes", said Glenda. "Parents find out lots of information about how to limit the impact of the separation on children, and they get a great DVD to take home and refer back to."

The first course will be held on 6 June and 13 June from 6pm until 8pm at Relationship Services, 142 Collingwood St; Nelson with further courses planned for 6 weeks. Both Barnados and Presbyterian Support are also approved providers of the programme and will be running courses in future. People interested in attending either course should contact Relationship Services on 548 0904 or 0800 RELATE.


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