Jake is 7. There has been a lot of yelling in his house in the last few months. Sometimes he had to cover his ears to go to sleep.

Now Jake’s house is quiet, except when his mother shouts on the phone. Jake’s dad has moved out, and it feels strange. He misses his father a lot. His mother cries more and often stays in her room.

Jake talks to his dad on the phone regularly. Most of the time, the conversations are good. However, when his mother and father talk on the phone, they fight — mostly about him. Jake looks forward to the days his father picks him up, but his stomach hurts when his parents argue about his schedule or his homework. At the end of a visit with his dad last week, they had a fight about his haircut.

Yesterday, Jake’s mother said she and his father would attend a parenting class. He wondered if they would yell there. He was really worried and did not sleep much last night.

Jake was surprised when his mother came home happy. She said they learned about something called “co-parenting,” a special way to help him, without fighting.

Today, Jake, his mother and his father had a meeting – a real meeting! It was kind of fun and there was no shouting. They ate lunch together and talked about their feelings. 

Jake’s parents asked him to help make a schedule for his time with each of them. They said they would get together a lot, but he could talk about his feelings whenever he wants. Sleep will come easy tonight.

Divorcing Parents is a one-time, four-hour class offered by the Family Center. The class helps parents learn techniques for co-parenting; including modeling cooperation, stability and predictability. Sandra Brunelle, who has led the class for two years, says, “We emphasize co-parenting because it is the best way to help kids through the transition. The marriage may have ended, but they are parents for life. View the class schedule and register here.