Family Transitions: Programs that Work

Using science to improve the lives of children following separation and divorce

We have been conducting research for over 30 years to develop and evaluate programs to promote children's healthy adjustment following their parents' divorce or separation. We have developed two programs that have a high level of scientific evidence that they work. We are now dedicated to delivering them to parents and their children.

Testimonials

  • " It makes me proud/happy to know that my children are doing a lot better than a few months ago before this program. This program has helped create a positive change for my 'new' family."

    - New Beginnings Mother

  • "My son and I are communicating much more effectively now, and I feel like we’re finally getting back to where we were before the divorce."

    - New Beginnings Father

  • "This program should be a must for all divorced parents."

    - New Beginnings Mother

  • "Dear Judge, I wanted to thank you for introducing me to the New Beginnings program. This is an excellent program and should be a part of all separating or divorcing parents as standard."

    - New Beginnings Father

  • "I am able to listen to my daughter and be able to strengthen the bond we once had before. This program has helped me a lot on how to go about discipline in a more positive way. I have more patience and less stress. [My child] is less angry. "

    - New Beginnings Mother

  • "The New Beginnings Program has informed me of some great tools for my 'tool bucket of fatherhood.' I continue to use these tools every day because of the impact that it has had on my family. My children have opened up to me, and our relationships have massively improved"

    - New Beginnings Father

  • "I have become a better person by taking this class. I use all these skills not only with my children, but in life with spouses or at my work. These skills really do work! I loved this class and would take a second one if it ever became available. "

    - New Beginnings Mother

  • "I would recommend this program to every single parent struggling to make a solid connection with their children. "

    - New Beginnings Father

  • "He started using language in the home that reflected steps of the program.
    I think that was very positive and helped to open communication between us. I think the program was wonderful."

    - Mother of 13 Year-Old Boy

  • "I thought this program wasn't going to help at all but I was wrong. My parent's divorce is so much easier to deal with now. Thank you."

    - 11-Year-Old Girl

  • "...my son, on the other hand, handled the situation with uncommon maturity. I was very impressed when he told me that he was utilizing some of the techniques that he had learned during your online program to manage the stress. Great Job! "

    - Father of 13-Year-Old Boy

  • "CoD-CoD changed my life by making it a little easier. ...it was GREAT!!!"

    - 14 Year-Old Boy

  • "She had homework that required her to talk to someone about the divorce. She chose to come to me and that was the first time
    she let me know what her feelings were.
    She even seemed relieved to get it off her chest."

    - Mother of 14 Year-Old Girl

  • "The interactive activities and the breathing exercises not only helped me calm down
    but I was having trouble sleeping and they helped.
    "

    - 11 Year-Old Girl

  • " the short time he participated, he learned positive life lessons and is applying them to his daily activities and decisions."

    - Mother of 15 Year-Old Boy

  • "It taught me to control my emotions and solve difficult problems.
    I can also stop myself before I say something that will most likely hurt someone else."

    - 14 Year-Old Girl

  • "He really took time and enjoyed the videos and information provided.
    You did a great job compiling and presenting the program!"

    - Mother of 15-Year-Old Boy

  • "I think it made my child think a lot about ways to think through problems. She presented me with an idea of how to resolve an argument
    that we had and it was a really good idea that involved expressing feelings in a constructive manner. I was pretty impressed."

    - Mother of 14-Year-Old Girl

  • "It was great. Jesse was funny."

    - 13 Year-Old Boy

  • "He has expressed on numerous occasions that the program continues to help him deal with situations
    that arise concerning me and his dad. I see a real change in his coping skills.
    "

    - Mother of 11 Year-Old Boy

  • "It was great. Jesse was funny."

    - 13 Year-Old Boy

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New Beginnings Program

Overview

The New Beginnings Program (NBP) is a 10-session, group-based program that helps both mothers and fathers help their children adjust following divorce or separation. Parenting can be very difficult during this time. Many divorcing and separating parents wonder:

  • How can we have more enjoyable time as a family?
  • How do I talk to my children about their feelings?
  • How should I discipline my children?
  • How do I keep my children out of the middle of problems with my ex-partner?

The New Beginnings Program gives fathers and mothers tools to answer these questions and build stronger relationships with their children. Children and parents learn how to have more fun when they spend time together. Children learn that they can share their worries and concerns with their parents. Parents make rules clearer and misbehaviors decrease.

Research published in leading scientific journals has shown that children benefit in many ways when their parents go to the New Beginnings Program, and that these benefits last up to 15 years after participation. These benefits include:

  • Better relationships with their parents.
  • Reduced aggression.
  • Reduced emotional problems.
  • Higher self-esteem.
  • Better grades.
  • Less substance use and abuse.

For more details on the research on the New Beginnings Program go our Research Findings section.

Info for Parents

Many parents worry about how their children will adjust to the changes that happen during and after divorce or separation. Although most children do not have serious problems after a divorce, some do. Common problems include aggression, poor grades, feeling sad or angry, and poor relationships with family and friends.

Divorce is difficult for parents, too. You need to cope with many strong feelings and all the changes that have occurred. Your children may be angry and sad and you may not know how to help them deal with these feelings.

Because parents play such an important part in their children's lives, you can make a big difference in how your children adjust to divorce. The New Beginnings Program gives you tools to help your children adjust to the changes that happen after a divorce or separation. The tools you will learn and practice with your children include:

  • Building more positive interactions.
  • Communicating and listening effectively.
  • Using effective discipline.
  • Keep children out of the middle of conflict.

Separate groups are offered for mothers and fathers. Groups are led by trained professionals. If you are a parent interested in enrolling in the New Beginnings Program click here to contact us for information about how to enroll in the program in your area.

Info for Professionals

Although most children do not have serious problems after a divorce, some do. Common problems include aggression, poor grades, feeling sad or angry, and poor relationships with family and friends. Divorce is difficult for mothers and fathers too. Parents need to cope with many strong feelings and all the changes that have occurred after the divorce or separation.

If you work with families going through divorce you may find yourself wondering how you can help them. The New Beginnings Program is the most extensively evaluated program for divorced or separated families and has been selected as a model program by Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development (www.blueprintsprograms.com). For more in depth description of the research on the program click on the Research Findings tab. The following benefits of the New Beginnings Program have been found in randomized controlled trials.

Parents

  • Have more fun with their children.
  • Deal with rule breaking and acting out more effectively.
  • Feel less stress and tension.
  • Are less depressed.
  • Feel better about themselves as a parent and about their ability to help their children.
  • Have fewer behavior problems.
  • Do better in school.
  • Feel happier.
  • Have higher self-esteem.
  • Are less likely to use drugs and alcohol.

Separate groups are offered for mothers and fathers and both parents do not need to participate. Groups range in size from 6 to 10.

Training in the New Beginnings Program

There are two steps involved in being trained to deliver the New Beginnings Program.

  • In-person Workshop - We periodically offer an in-person training for new group leaders. The training takes place over the course of three days.
  • Supervised delivery of the New Beginnings Program. Following the three-day workshop, leaders receive in depth training and supervision while they deliver the program. Training includes a session-by-session online training program and review of each session with a supervisor. Certification as an independent provider of New Beginnings Program occurs following successful program delivery.

To explore how you can become a certified New Beginnings Program group leader, click here to contact us.

Group leaders already enrolled in training for the New Beginnings Program can click here to access our online training sessions.

Institutional Training of Multiple Providers

We also offer training for groups of providers who are affiliated with an agency or court system that wishes to train multiple providers. Consultation is available to courts or agencies interested in establishing a systematic approach to offering the program to divorcing families in their community. We offer a substantial discount to institutions who wish to train multiple leaders.

More information about the training is provided at blueprintsprograms.com

To explore how you can train multiple providers, click here to contact us.

Testimonials

We think New Beginnings is great! But you don't have to take our word for it. Hit the play button on the video to see what parents who have gone through New Beginnings (and their children) have to say about the program and how it helped them.

One father's experience with how the New Beginnings Program benefitted his family following divorce is described in this recent article: https://asunews.asu.edu/20150821-asu-reach-mental-health


CoD-CoD

Program Preview

Want to see more of CoD-CoD? Here is a detailed outline of the CoD-CoD program and links to some sample activities:

If you have questions about the program or want to see more of CoD-CoD email us at codcod@familytransitions-ptw.com

Overview

The Children of Divorce – Coping with Divorce (CoD-CoD) program is a five-module internet-based mental health promotion program for children of divorce ages 11 and up. CoD-CoD is designed to promote children's ability to use effective coping strategies that are associated with better adjustment following parental divorce. These coping strategies include:

  • Effectively dealing with feelings.
  • Effective problem solving of stressors they can control.
  • Understanding the difference between stressors they can and those they can't control.
  • Avoiding coping traps such as self-blame and pessimistic thinking.
  • Increasing their sense that they have effectively coped with divorce stressors.

Youth learn about each of these coping skills and to use them to effectively deal with the stressors they are facing following their parents' divorce. Youth set their own goals for the program and keep track of their own progress in achieving these goals. The program is very active and engaging for young people. The program uses videos and animation to demonstrate coping skills and humor and a personal connection with the program developer help personalize the program skills. The program is highly interactive and youth are encouraged to use the coping skills they learn in their day-to-day lives. In the final module, youth harness their program skills to develop a plan that addresses the divorce-related events they are the most concerned about.

Module Progress

Info for Parents and Professionals

If you are looking for a convenient, inexpensive, and effective way to help a child experiencing parental divorce, CoD-CoD may be just what you were hoping to find. CoD-CoD is completed independently by the youth online, at their own pace and at a location of their choosing.

Most youth who go through CoD-CoD report that they enjoy the program and that it's helpful to them. Our research indicates that the program improved coping efficacy and reduced youth reports of their aggression and emotional problems after divorce. Moreover, the greatest benefits were reported by youth who reported higher behavior problems when they started the program. Youth find the program to be highly engaging. Getting youth to actually do on-line coping programs has been difficult for most other on-line programs. We specifically designed our program to be attractive and engaging for youth by using a variety of strategies such as having them set their own goals and using videos and highly interactive activities. We have also found that youth are most likely to complete the program when they receive a small reward for participating. Therefore, a part of the program cost is used to pay an incentive directly to the youth for their participation. Using these strategies, CoD-CoD has achieved the highest level of program completion of any web-based coping program for youth in the current literature!

We believe that CoD-CoD should be available to all children. We offer family and group discounts and will also happily work with parents who are experiencing financial hardship to make sure that their child can participate in the program. Get the details by clicking on the CoD-CoD website link above.

To find out more about CoD-CoD or enroll a youth in the program: http://familytransitions-ptw.com/CoDCoD/parents/index.html

Graph of CoD-CoD Effects

Info for Youth

We know going through a 5-session program on divorce probably doesn't sound that great, but we promise that we've done everything we can to make the program fun and useful to you. CoD-CoD speaks to you honestly about coping strategies that work and those that don't. You set your own goals for what you want to get out of the program. CoD-CoD is packed with videos, games, animations, activities and honest discussions about divorce issues. Most youth who go through the program say they really enjoyed it and that it was helpful. Check out our promo video and testimonials from youth who have completed the program to see if you think the CoD-CoD program might be right for you.

If you want to find out more about CoD-CoD or enroll in the program: http://familytransitions-ptw.com/CoDCoD/parents/index.html

Graph of CoD-CoD Effects

Purchasing the Program

The CoD-CoD program can be purchased at a price of $49.95 for individual enrollments Visit the CoD-CoD website to enroll: http://familytransitions-ptw.com/CoDCoD/parents/index.html

We believe that CoD-CoD should be available to all children. We offer family and group discounts and will also happily work with parents who are experiencing financial hardship to make sure that their child gets a chance to participate. Get the details by clicking on the CoD-CoD website link above.

Graph of CoD-CoD Effects

About Us

Family Transitions - Programs That Work

Beakers and Scienceyness

Family Transitions – Programs that Work was created to deliver effective programs to families going through divorce or separation. These family changes are stressful for everyone. The programs we offer have been demonstrated through rigorous scientific studies to make a difference in the lives of children and their parents. Our commitment to our users is that all of our programs meet the highest scientific standards for improving children's mental health and we provide you with the latest evidence on program effectiveness. We are also delighted to say that children and parents love using our programs!

Our company was started by three people with PhD's in social science. Two of the founders have spent over 30 years developing and evaluating programs for children and families who have experienced family transitions. The findings from their studies have been published in the most prestigious scientific journals. To accomplish the goal of moving these programs into the real world, these researchers teamed up with a third partner with extensive experience in the private and non-profit settings that provide services to the public. The Family Transitions team shares a commitment to bringing effective research-based programs to children and families who can benefit from them.


Purchase a Program

Purchase NBP

The New Beginnings Program is delivered to parents by well-trained professional leaders and is not offered directly to parents. There are two steps involved in being trained to deliver the New Beginnings Program.

  • In-person Workshop - We periodically offer an in-person training for new group leaders. The training takes place over the course of three days.
  • Supervised delivery of the New Beginnings Program. Following the three-day workshop, leaders receive in depth training and supervision while they deliver the program. Training includes a session-by-session online training program and review of each session with a supervisor. Certification as an independent provider of New Beginnings Program occurs following successful program delivery.

To explore how you can become a certified New Beginnings Program group leader, click here to contact us.

If you are a parent who wishes to enroll in the New Beginnings program, click here to contact us and find the nearest location offering the New Beginnings Program.

Purchase CoD-CoD

The CoD-CoD program can be purchased at http://familytransitions-ptw.com/CoDCoD/parents/index.html

We believe that CoD-CoD should be available to all children experiencing difficulty with their parents divorce. We offer family and group discounts and will also happily work with parents who are experiencing financial hardship to make sure that their child gets a chance to go through the program. Get the details by clicking on the CoD-CoD website link above.

Group Discounts

We want both of our programs out in the world where they can do some good. We are happy to offer substantial group discounts for both the New Beginnings Program and CoD-CoD.

For details on group discounts for The New Beginnings program, click here to contact us.

For details on group pricing for CoD-CoD visit the CoD-CoD website: http://familytransitions-ptw.com/CoDCoD/parents/index.html


Research Findings

New Beginnings

The New Beginnings Program (NBP) has been tested through careful research with hundreds of families over the past 20 years. The program has been recognized as a Blueprints Model Program and is highly rated as an effective prevention program by the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) .

NBP addresses the aspects of divorce that cause the most problems for parents and children - difficulties in the parent-child relationship and discipline. The program also helps parents figure out how best to keep their children from getting involved in conflicts between themselves and their ex-partners.

Two randomized controlled trials of the New Beginnings Program have been conducted. These studies found that NBP resulted in parents being warmer and using more effective discipline and children experiencing fewer problems as compared with children whose parents were not in the program. Six years later children from NBP families had:

  • Fewer serious behavior and emotional problems.
  • Higher grades.
  • Higher self-esteem.
  • Less drug and alcohol use.
  • Less early sexual activity.

Over one hundred fathers have also participated in the NBP. They have enjoyed their involvement and reported that the program led to positive changes in their children and their families.

How long do the improvements last?

Fifteen years after the program, the young adults whose families participated in the program still have fewer mental health and substance abuse problems than those whose families did not participate in the program. They also had better relationships with their romantic partners.

Publications on the New Beginnings Program.

  • Herman, P. M., Mahrer, N. E., Wolchik, S. A., Porter, M. M., Jones, S., & Sandler, I. N. (2014). Cost-benefit analysis of a preventive intervention for divorced families: reduction in mental health and justice system service use costs 15 years later. Prevention Science, 1-11.
  • Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I. N., Tein, J.-Y., Mahrer, N. E.,Millsap, R. E., Winslow, E., & Reed, A. (2013). Fifteen year follow-up of a randomized trial of a preventive intervention for divorced families: Effects on mental health and substance use outcomes in young adulthood. Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology, 81,600–673.
  • Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., Millsap, R.E., Plummer, B.A., Greene, S.M., Anderson, E.R., et al. (2002). Six-year follow-up of a randomized, controlled trial of preventive interventions for children of divorce. Journal of the American Medical Association, 288, 1-8

Graph of CoD-CoD Effects

CoD-CoD

Children of Divorce - Coping with Divorce (CoD-CoD) was evaluated in a randomized clinical trial with 147 participants. Randomized clinical trials are the "gold standard" for program evaluation and CoD-CoD is the only internet-based program for children of divorce to be evaluated in such a trial. We have sumbitted a manuscript of our results to a top-tier academic journal in March 2015. The results of the CoD-CoD trial indicated that the program:

  • Improves Coping Efficacy (The Child's Belief That They Can Cope With Stressors).
  • Reduces Mental Health Problems (As Reported By Children and Parents).
  • Program Effects Are Stronger For Children with Higher Risk and More Initial Problems.

References:

  • Evaluation of CoD-CoD (Publications and Presentations):
    • Boring, J., Sandler, I., Tien, J., Crnic, K., Horan, J. (2015). Children of Divorce-Coping with Divorce Program: Evaluating the Efficacy of an Internet-Based Preventative Intervention for Children of Divorce. Manuscript submitted for publication.
    • Boring, J. (2013). Working Toward The Potential of Internet-Based Programs: Results of the Children of Divorce -Coping with Divorce RCT. Invited lecture in Pierce Prevention Research Center Seminar Series, University Park, PA.
    • Boring, J. & Sandler, I. New Research on Families of Separation and Divorce Workshop presentation presented at 2012 Annual Meeting of Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Chicago, IL.
Graph of CoD-CoD Effects

References for Effective Coping For Children and Youth Following Divorce

  • Wolchik, S. A., & Sandler, I. N. (2009). Response to parental divorce. In C. Galanter & P. Jensen (Eds.), DSM-IV TR casebook and treatment guide for child mental health. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  • Velez, C. E., Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J. Y., & Sandler, I. N. (2011). Protecting children from the consequences of divorce: A longitudinal study of the effects of parenting on children’s coping processes. Child Development, 82, 244-257.
  • Winslow, E. B., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., & Carr, C. (2005). Building resilience in all children: A public health approach. In S. Goldstein & R. Brooks (Eds.), Handbook of resilience in children (2nd ed., pp. 337-356). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
  • Sandler, I.N., Wolchik, S.A., Davis, C.H., Haine, R.A., & Ayers, T.S. (2003). Correlational and experimental study of resilience for children of divorce and parentally-bereaved children. In S.S. Luthar (Ed.), Resilience and vulnerability: Adaptation in the context of childhood adversities. (pp. 213-243). New York: Cambridge University Press.

References for Parenting Following Divorce

  • Sandler, I., Wolchik, S., Winslow, E., Mahrer, N., Moran, J., & Weinstock, D. (2012). Quality of maternal and paternal parenting following separation and divorce. In K. Kuehnle & L. Drozd (Eds.), Parenting plan evaluations: Applied research for the Family Court (pp. 85 – 123). New York, NY: Oxford University Press
  • Wolchik, S. A., Sandler, I., Weiss, L., & Winslow, E. B. (2007). New Beginnings: An empirically-based program to help divorced mothers promote resilience in their children. In J. M. Briesmeister & C. E. Schaefer (Eds.), Handbook of parent training: Helping parents prevent and solve problem behaviors (pp. 25-62). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Sandler, I., Wheeler, L., & Braver, S. (in press). Relations of parenting quality, interparental conflict, and overnights with mental health problems of children in divorcing families with high legal conflict. Journal of Family Psychology.
  • Salem, P., Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. (2013). Taking stock of parent education in the Family Courts: Envisioning a public health approach. Family Court Review.

References for Predicting Children and Youth Risk Following Divorce

  • Tein, J.-Y., Sandler, I. N., Braver, S. L., Wolchik, S. A. (2013). Development of a brief parent report risk index for children following parental divorce. Journal of Family Psychology, 27, 925-936. doi: 10.1037/a0034571
  • Dawson-McClure, S. R., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., & Millsap, R. E. (2004). Risk as a moderator of the effects of prevention programs for children from divorced families: A six-year longitudinal study. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 175-190.
Graph of CoD-CoD Effects

Contact us

Please contact us if you have any questions about the New Beginnings or CoD-CoD Programs.

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