Bradenton Herald, The (FL)
PROGRAM TO BOOST COUPLES, PARENTINGLocal married and unmarried couples raising kids up to 18 years old are invited to participate in a 10-week marriage and parenting program starting Tuesday, March 14. Free and open to the public, the program will teach couples enrichment, family relationship skills and parenting education. Its goal is to help couples resolve conflicts and differences in their parenting styles and create a shared vision for their family. "The experience of parenting can be conflictual or bring couples closer together. This program helps to get the parents on the same page, in a nutshell," says author Mark Perlman. Perlman will lead the program, which will be held at Forty Carrots Family Center in Sarasota. It will be participatory, he says; there's a lot of information to present, but discussions and exercises will be a part of the program. The program's been held elsewhere in the United States for about a year, but this is its first time in this area. Perlman is a Sarasota resident. Forty Carrots and The Florida Center for Child and Family Development have collaborated with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County on the program, which is possible thanks to a $31,500 grant from the Community Foundation's Connecting Fathers and Families Initiative Fund. The three organizations hope to stop the number of families that go through separation and divorce during the parenting years. According to a National Fatherhood Initiative report, 43 percent of first marriages break up within 15 years. About 60 percent of divorcing couples have children, and almost 30 percent of children end up growing up in single-parent homes, the report says.
PHOTO/KNIGHT RIDDER TRIBUNE