Hope for children, families of divorce

Published 4:34 pm Monday, March 7, 2011

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

Many of the effects of divorce are not only negative, but far reaching for both the children and adults involved.

Divorce occurs in 50 percent of all marriages and leaves one million children in America to experience those negative effects. Seventy percent of children at some point in their lives live in a single-parent home.

While those statistics are alarming, Gateway of Shelby County offers hope to those who are experiencing divorce.

TransParenting is a nationally acclaimed program for parents going through the transition of divorce. It is an interactive experience teaching effective parenting during a time of transition that can increase the positive impact and decrease the negative impact divorce and separation often bring.

Parenting handbooks are given to participants ,providing excellent resources for them.

The seminar is broken down into four hours, with half of it focusing on the social, legal and financial aspects of divorce.

The second part focuses on the impact on the children involved, how they are affected, how to know when they need help and the different stages of development to expect.

TransParenting is included in legislation in several states as the gold standard for which other programs are modeled.

Gateway of Shelby County is part of that gold standard offering TransParenting seminars on the third Tuesday of each month from 4:30 – 8:30 p.m. at its Pelham office. The cost is $50 per person and needs to be paid one week in advance of the seminar.

“Parents who are getting divorced must learn to work together for the best interests of their children. Our seminar provides them with the tools and information to do that,” Director Liz Stewart said. TransParenting is also helpful for unmarried parents of children and relatives seeking custody or conflicting with the child’s biological family.

Gateway of Shelby County is a non-profit organization offering outpatient counseling services for individuals and families, in-home, wrap around and school-based services and adolescent groups such as the GATE Program (Guiding Adolescents Through Education). They are partially funded by United Way of Central Alabama and offer bilingual services.

Gateway of Shelby County’s mission is, “To provide educational tools that help families move through significant change.” Their TransParenting seminars are known for doing just that.

For more information on the TransParenting seminars call 510-2780 or visit Gway.org.
Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at bethchapman@bellsouth.net.