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.