Divorce class teaches how to build a businesslike relationship | PostIndependent.com

Divorce class teaches how to build a businesslike relationship

Ivy Vogel

In a shouting match at the beginning of “Mrs. Doubtfire,” Sally Field tells Robin Williams she can no longer live with him and wants a divorce.What’s heart-wrenching about the scene is not the content of the argument but the way their kids’ faces fall when their parents drop the “D” bomb.Divorce should be dealt with in a manner that creates the least amount of harm possible for kids who get caught in the middle, said Robert Nuffer, who teaches a “Parenting Through Divorce” class.Parenting Through Divorce is a class designed to teach divorced parents how to build a businesslike relationship, Nuffer said.The class meets once a month for four hours and gives parents resources and techniques to help them communicate without damaging their children.Some common, damaging events are asking kids to chose between mom and dad, arguing over child support payments, or bashing the one spouse in front of the child, Nuffer said.”Divorce is an adult problem,” Nuffer said. “Adults don’t consult their kids when they’re buying a car so why should they consult their kids about issues like time and finance that are involved with divorce?”No child wants to chose between mom and dad, and none of them wants to hear mom screaming to dad about child-care payments, Nuffer said.Role playing is one technique Nuffer and his partner, Tammy Perry, use to help parents understand how their children feel when they are forced into one of the previously mentioned situations.One adult plays a child while other adults start yelling at each other over an issue such as child-support payments.As the arguments progress, some adults cry and others feel extreme guilt because they understand how scared, confused and anxious their children feel in these situations, Nuffer said.The behaviors divorced parents express toward each other can be divided into five categories. The first two categories, perfect pals and cooperative colleagues, focus on getting along with each other for the sake of the kids.Forty to 50 percent of kids fall into this category, Nuffer said.The other kids have parents who are angry associates, fiery foes or dissolved duos. The tension between angry associates can be cut with a knife, and fiery foes spend much of their time in custody battles, Nuffer said. Dissolved duos have absolutely no contact with each other.Kids in the last three categories have a tendency to act out, struggle with relationships and regress into activities such as bed-wetting and thumb-sucking, which are common in younger children.Nuffer wants to help parents remain in the first two categories.”Parents need to look at their relationship as a business relationship,” Nuffer said. “If they don’t work together, nothing gets done and they fail.”Contact Ivy Vogel: 945-8515, ext. 534ivogel@postindependent.comThe next class is scheduled at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 13. For more information contact Robert Nuffer at 625-9552 or 945-8598.The next class is scheduled at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 13. For more information contact Robert Nuffer at 625-9552 or 945-8598.

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