eNew Beginnings Program

New Beginnings for Divorcing and Separating Parents

The eNew Beginnings Program (eNBP) is an asychronous completely online program that helps parents protect their children from the negative effects of parental divorce. The simple but powerful skills the eNBP teaches have been shown to benefit children up to 15 years later.

The eNBP focuses on four pillars for effective parenting after divorce or separation.

  • Doing positive, fun, family activities.
  • Learning effective listening tools (not just hearing but listening) to get children to share more.
  • Understanding how to establish family rules and use effective tools to decrease children’s misbehavior.
  • Learning practical tools to protect children from conflict with one’s ex-partner

The eNBP is highly interactive. Sessions begin with a check-in about parents’ use of the program skills that includes tips to reduce any challenges they experienced in using them. Parents then learn a new skill using modeling videos, interactive exercises, and testimonials from prior participants, identify barriers to using the skill and plan ways to reduce these barriers. Parents are provided with tip sheets about the skills and a downloadable handbook that includes the major points of the session. The eNBP can be used on a smartphone, tablet, or computer and there are separate versions for fathers and mothers. The program is available in two formats, a 6-week program, and a 10-week program. Parents complete one unit a week. The 6-week program can be completed in 3 hours and the 10-week program can be completed in 5 hours. The same material is included in both formats; the 10-week program allows parents more practice and provides them with more feedback about the skills.

The effectiveness of the eNBP was tested in a randomized controlled trial that included 131 parents who were randomly given access to the program or assigned to a waitlist. Both parents and children reported that the eNBP improved parent-child relationship quality and effective discipline. Also, both parents and children also reported reductions in the amount of conflict between the parents. Importantly, the children whose parents were in the eNBP experienced decreases in anxiety and depression. Because children were not involved in the program, their reports of improvements increase confidence in the findings.

Parents were very satisfied with the eNBP. The majority felt that it was helpful to their relationships with their children and themselves and had very positive things to say about the program. For example, parents said, “It got me and my children closer to each other”, “It helped me invest in time with my child and helped me to understand how to communicate with him better.”, "I like the activities and homework and ideas on how to implement them and explain them to your children.”  and “There are several tools I used immediately that my kids are big fans of.” Over 80% of the parents said that family courts should recommend divorcing or separating parents complete the eNew Beginnings Program.

Adapted from the in-person group New Beginnings Program (NBP), the eNBP includes all material in the NBP. The NBP was rigorously evaluated in three randomized experimental trials funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Drug Abuse. These trials demonstrated that the NBP improved parenting and reduced children’s mental health problems up to six and fifteen years later. At the 6-year follow-up, adolescents whose parents participated in the NBP had a 37% lower rate of diagnosed mental disorders, lower levels   of   mental   health problems, and less use of alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. They also had higher levels of self-esteem and higher grades. At the 15-year follow-up, which occurred in young adulthood, those in the NBP reported less substance use, cigarette smoking, time in jail, and use of services for psychological problems. Also, there was a 69% reduction in developing a mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety. The program led to greater self-regulation, self-esteem, work functioning, and positive attitudes toward parenting. Cost-benefit analysis showed a $1,600 savings per family in terms of reduced involvement in the criminal justice system and use of mental health services for those in the NBP as compared to those in the control condition.

Evaluations of the NBP and eNBP have been published in multiple scientific journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association, Family Court Review, and Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. The program has been recognized by multiple registries of evidence-based programs, including the Registry of Evidence-based Programs- Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development, Early Intervention Foundation Guidebook for Commissioners in the United Kingdom, California Evidence-based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, and Scotland’s Early Intervention Framework for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing.  

For more information about the eNew Beginnings Program go to www.divorceandparenting.com.

Media, Grants, and Publications

NICHD Grant R01HD094334. Parenting-after-divorce program: 26 years follow-up of adult children and their families.

Principal Investigator: Wolchik, S.; Co-Investigators: Luecken, L., Winslow, E., Tein, Y-T., Sandler, I.N & Eisenberg, N. 2017-2022.

NIDA Grant R01 DAO26874-01A1. Multi-court trial of NBP to prevent substance abuse and mental health disorders.

Principal Investigator: Sandler, I.; Co-Investigators: Wolchik, S., Tein, J.Y., Winslow, E., Gonzales, N. & Berkel, C. 2011-2016.

NIMH Grant R01 MH071707. Effects of NBP for Children of Divorce 15 Years Later.

Principal Investigator: Wolchik, S.; Co-Principal Investigator Sandler, I 2006-2009.

NIMH Grant 1R01 MH057012-01A1. Children of divorce: 6-year follow-up of preventive efforts.

Principal Investigator: Wolchik S.; Co-Principal Investigators: Sandler, I., West, S. & Anderson, E. 1998 - 2001.

NIMH Grant RO3 MH38474. Impact of significant divorce events on children, 1983.

Principal Investigators: I. Sandler, S. Wolchik & S. Braver. 1983 – 1984.

  • Mahrer, N.E., Winslow, E., Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J-Y., & Sandler, I.N. (2014). Effects of a preventive parenting intervention for divorced families on the intergenerational transmission of parenting attitudes in young adult offspring. Child Development, 85, 2091-2015
  • **Modecki, K. L.,* Hagan, M., Sandler, I, & Wolchik, S. (2014). Latent profiles of non-residential father engagement six years after divorce predict long term offspring outcomes. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 1, 1-14.
  • *Mahrer, N.E., Winslow, E., Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J-Y., & Sandler, I.N. (2014). Effects of a preventive parenting intervention for divorced families on the intergenerational transmission of parenting attitudes in young adult offspring. Child Development, 85, 2091-2015.
  • *Mahrer, N. E., Luecken, L.J., Wolchik, S. A., & Tein, J. (2014). Exposure to Maternal Depressive Symptoms in Childhood and Cortisol Activity in Young Adulthood. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 38, 570-576.
  • Zhou, Q., *Chen, S.H., Cookston, J.T. & Wolchik, S. A. (2014). Evaluating the cultural fit of the New Beginnings Parent Program for divorced Asian American mothers: A pilot study. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 5, 126-133
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  • Luecken, L., *Hagan, M., *Mahrer, N., Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., Tein, J-Y (2015). Effects of a prevention program for divorced families on youth cortisol reactivity 15 years later. Psychology and Health, 30, 751-769.
  • **Modecki, K. L., Hagan, M. J., Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. A. (2015). Latent profiles of nonresidential father engagement six years after divorce predict long-term offspring outcomes. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 44(1), 123-136.
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  • *Hagan, M.J., Luecken, L.J., Modecki, K.L. Sandler, I.N., & Wolchik, S.A. (2016). Childhood negative emotionality predicts biobehavioral dysregulation 15 years later. Emotion, 16, 877-885.
  • Luecken, L.J., *Hagan, M.J., Wolchik, S.A., Sandler, I.N., Tein, J-Y. (2016). A longitudinal study of the effects of child-reported maternal warmth on cortisol stress response 15 years after parental divorce. Psychosomatic Medicine, 78,163-170.
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  • Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Berkel, C., Jones, S., Mauricio, A. M., Tein, J. Y., & Winslow, E. (2016). Effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program for Divorcing Parents: Translation from and experimental prototype to an evidence-based community service. In M. Israelashvili & J. Roman (Eds.), pp. 81-106. Cambridge Handbook of International Prevention Science: Cambridge University Press.
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  • *Ingram, A. & Wolchik, S.A. (2017). Divorce, psychological effects of parental divorce on children. In A.E. Wenzel (Ed.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
  • Mauricio, A. M., *Mazza, G. L., Berkel, C., Tein, J. Y., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., & Winslow, E. (2018). Attendance trajectory classes among divorced and separated mothers and fathers in the new beginnings program. Prevention Science, 19, 620–629.
  • Sandler, I. N., *Gunn, H. E., *Mazza, G., Tein, J. Y., Wolchik, S. A., Berkel, C., Jones, S., & Porter, M. M. (2018). Effects of a program to promote high quality parenting by divorced and separated fathers. Prevention Science, 19, 538-548.
  • Berkel, C., Mauricio, A., Sandler, I., Wolchik, S.A., *Gallo, C & Brown, H. (2018). Cascading effects of implementation: test of a multidimensional model. Prevention Science,19, 663-673.
  • Berkel, C., Sandler, I., Wolchik. S.A., Brown, H., *Gallo C., *Chiapa, A., Mauricio, A., & Jones, S. (2018). Home practice is the program”: Parents' practice of program skills as predictors of outcomes in the New Beginnings Program effectiveness trial. Prevention Science,19, 663-673.
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  • Tein, J.-Y., *Mazza, G. L., *Gunn, H. J., Kim, H.-J., Stuart, E. A. Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. (2018). Multi-group propensity score approach to evaluating an effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program. Evaluation and the Health Professions, 41, 290-320.
  • **O’Hara, K.L., Wolchik, S., & Sandler, I. (2019). Divorce: Recommendations for the Home. In K. Minke & G. Bear (Eds.), Helping Children Handouts: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Common Concerns at School and Home. National Association of School Psychologists.
  • **O’Hara, K.L., Wolchik, S., & Sandler, I. (2019). Divorce: Recommendations for the School. In K. Minke & G. Bear (Eds.), Helping Children Handouts: Prevention and Intervention Strategies for Common Concerns at School and Home. National Association of School Psychologists.
  • *Carr, C.M., Wolchik, S.A., Tein, J.-Y., & Sandler, I. (2019). Mother-adolescent and father-adolescent relationship: Relations with emerging adult’s romantic attachment. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 60,194-210.
  • *Mahrer, N., * Holly, L., Luecken, L.J., Wolchik, S.A., & Fabricius, W. (2019). Parenting style, familism, and youth adjustment in Mexican-American and European-American families. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50, 659-675.
  • Hagan, M., Sandler, I., Modecki, K., Luecken, L., *Moctezuma, L., & Wolchik, S. (2019). Binge drinking in adolescence predicts an atypical cortisol stress response in young adulthood. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 100, 137-144.
  • Wolchik, S.A., Christopher, C., Tein, J-Y., *Rhodes, C. & Sandler, I.N. (2019). Long-term effect of a parenting preventive intervention on young adults’ attitudes toward divorce and marriage. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 60, 137-300.
  • Sandler, N., Wolchik, S.A., *Mazza, G., *Gunn, H., Tein, J-Y., Berkel, C., Jones, S. & Porter, M. (2019). Randomized effectiveness trial of the New Beginnings Program for divorced families with children and adolescents. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 1-19.
  • **Elam, K.K., Sandler, I. Wolchik, S. Tein, J-Y, & Rogers, A. (in press). Latent profile analysis of parenting time, conflict, and parenting following divorce: Associations with children’s adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology.
  • **O’Hara, K. L., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., & Tein, J-Y. (in press). Coping in context: The long-term relations between interparental conflict and coping on the development of child psychopathology following parental divorce. Development and Psychopathology.
  • ** O’Hara, K. L., Sandler, I. N., Wolchik, S. A., Tein, J-Y., *Rhodes, C. A. (in press). Parenting time, parenting quality, interparental conflict, and mental health problems of children in high-conflict divorce. Journal of Family Psychology.

*Graduate student author

** Post-doctoral student author