By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
NEWKIRK — Divorce is hard for everyone in the family, parents and children alike, but it is especially hard for the kids, who have to witness the dissolution of the family, and cope with separated parents and living situations. If both parents retain parental rights, the Kay County Cooperative Extension Service is offering co-parenting classes once a month throughout the year to help those parents in a new situation.
The meetings will be held at Pioneer Technology Center, 2101 Ash St., in Ponca City. Each meeting will be held from 1 – 5 p.m. The meeting dates are Jan. 16, Feb. 13, March 19, April 16, May 14, June 11, July 9, Aug. 13, Sept. 10, Oct. 8, Nov. 12 and Dec. 10.
The Extension office has sponsored the meetings for more than 20 years, in accordance with family laws that mandate co-parenting training with children under the age of 18. Only one of the 12 classes are required for the training.
“They attend one four-hour class, and they receive a certificate they can take to the court or judge to show they attended the class,” said Kay County Extension Director Brenda Medlock.
There will be many concepts discussed during the class, including conflict management, co-parenting plan development, remaining active in a child’s life as well as the importance of staying involved.
“They also discuss things to not do, that put stress on your children,” Medlock said.
Those attending the class will also find local resources, including counselors that may help with the stress.
Children may not attend the meetings. Participants will not receive credit if they arrive late or leave early. Any parents with protective orders against them may not attend. A cost of $35 is required, in the form of a check or money order. No substance use is allowed prior to the meeting, and all participants must register at least three days in advance.
Parents may attend together or separately, and other involved individuals, such as a grandparent or stepparent, also may attend.
“We talk about parenting struggles, and better ways to parent. No one has been trained to parent, so it helps people know how to handle things, what to look for,” she said. “I would welcome anyone to come.”
For more information, including to register for a class, contact the Kay County Extension Office at (580) 362-3194 or (580) 362-2200, or Kay County Court Clerk Marilee Thornton, at (580) 362-3350.