عنوان مقاله [English]
Parents’ divorce is one of the most common stressors for children and has severe consequences for children of divorce (Quchani et al., 2021). A meta-analysis of 92 studies published in the 1980s (Amato & Keith, 1991) and 67 studies in the 1990s (Amato, 2001) showed that children of divorce experience more behavioral, internalizing, social, and academic problems than other children. Adolescents from divorced families are more likely to be involved in drug and alcohol abuse (Hoffmann & Johnson, 1998). They are also two or three times more likely to have significant mental health problems and use mental health services (Hetherington et al., 1992). Moreover, excessive aggression, stress, low self-esteem, and poor relationships with peers are more common in these children (Wolchik et al., 2009). Parents play a central role in facilitating the optimal adjustment of children after divorce. Besides, the skills and resources required to successfully resolve early developmental tasks after divorce are important tools for overcoming future challenges (Patterson & Fisher, 2002).
Mothers are more affected by the consequences of divorce than fathers (Wickrama et al., 2022). They are more affected by psycho-emotional issues than men, and are more concerned about their children and their fate than fathers (Akhavan Tafti, 2003). The New Beginnings Program (Wolchik et al., 2009) is an experimental program to help divorced mothers improve their ability for adapting to their children’s conditions. The program is an experimentally evaluated program for children of divorced parents, in which custodial mothers act as mediators of change. This study examines whether the New Beginnings Program affects the parenting self-efficacy of divorced mothers and the adjustment of children of divorce.
This quasi-experimental study was conducted using a pre-test post-test design with a control group. The research population consisted of divorced mothers in Ahvaz who were the custodians of their children aged 5 to 13 and who applied to participate in the New Beginnings Program. The participants were 30 divorced mothers who were selected through purposive sampling and were randomly placed into the intervention and control groups each with 15 members. The data were collected through the Parental Self-Efficacy Questionnaire and the Child Adjustment Scale. The New Beginnings Program was conducted for 10 sessions, once a week and for 90 minutes only for the participants in the intervention group. The data gathered from the two groups were compared using univariate and multivariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA).
The results of one-way ANCOVA for parenting self-efficacy (F=307.05) and children’s social adjustment (F=192.57) showed significant differences between the intervention and control groups. The mean scores of parenting self-efficacy for the participants in the intervention and control groups were 55.53 and 29.33, respectively, after the intervention, showing a significant increase in parenting self-efficacy for the participants in the intervention group compared to the control group after the intervention. Moreover, the mean scores of the children’s social adjustment for the participants in the intervention and control groups were 78.80 and 33.87, respectively, after the intervention, confirming a significant increase in the children’s social adjustment for the participants in the intervention group compared to the control group after the intervention.
Discussion and Conclusion
Some divorced mothers feel incompetent and ineffective in parenting after divorce. Thus, the main goal of the New Beginnings Program is to teach correct parenting and childrearing skills to mothers to help them establish a correct relationship with their children. This program also empowers mothers to develop a sense of efficiency, self-worth, and parenting self-efficacy. Mothers can also develop effective listening and problem-solving skills, helping them to spend adequate time responding correctly to their children. The program also helps mothers develop effective childrearing and anger management skills. Thus, the New Beginnings Program can positively affect the self-efficacy of divorced mothers and their children’s social adjustment. The program also contributes to fostering warm behavior, acceptance, and support in these women to become more effective mothers for their children and teach them skills to prevent future problems. The mothers participating in this study were able to create a safe and welcoming environment for themselves and their children and develop a more positive attitude towards themselves. Moreover, it seems that changing some childrearing misconceptions in mothers can help to improve social adjustment in children of divorce. Providing training for mothers to establish effective communication with the child, turning negative cycles of dialogue into positive cycles, paying attention to good behavior, encouraging children to behave well and speak well using favorable outcomes, removing obstacles to father-child visits, and protecting the child from parents’ problems during training sessions are some strengths of the New Beginnings Program, which enhanced the children’s social adjustment in the post-intervention phase.