New Ways For Families® (NWFF) is a parenting skills course developed in the USA which is now available in the UK. Intended particularly for parents who have experienced high-conflict separations, the course includes 10 online modules which are supported by one-to-one coaching sessions conducted online or by phone after modules 1, 4 and 10.
The online modules introduce communication, bargaining and understanding skills which can then be practised during coaching sessions. The coaches are all UK-based family professionals.
NWFF is intended to reduce the negative impact of conflict on children in family breakup and reduce stress levels. Learners are helped to calm down separation conflict and avoid taking court action by reaching agreement.
The programme focuses on four key skills:
MANAGED EMOTIONS – helping you to control anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety so as to not over-react and protect the children from extreme emotions;
FLEXIBLE THINKING – acknowledging that there is more than one solution to every problem enabling you to turn complaints into proposals for future behaviour or future agreements;
MODERATING BEHAVIOUR – helping you to avoid extreme actions, language and parenting requests and showing how to respond to hostile communication so as to avoid escalating the conflict;
CHECKING YOURSELF – reminding you to use these skills during times of stress and develop empathy, attention and respect.
The NWFF course has been used in the USA, Canada and Australia since 2010, and thousands of parents have been helped by the course to settle disputes and reach agreement on arrangements for their children.
It has been introduced to the UK by the charity Shared Parenting Scotland following an evaluated pilot in 2022-3. During the pilot one learner commented: “ By doing the course you learn to calm yourself down. You realise you’re not giving your former partner ammunition any more. Her responses are now calmer and not as antagonistic. And now I think I’m acting much more in my daughter’s interest”
One of the coaches commented: “What’s striking me is, what the programme is doing for the learners is empowering them. It’s giving them control, not of everything. But it’s actually showing them how much control they can have. They can lead what’s happening, rather than just reacting.”
Another learner praised the coaching: “The online material was well structured so that you could do a chunk of learning at your own pace, and then reflect with the coach, and maybe ask a couple of questions, develop some ideas…. I tried to time it when I knew I had a difficult discussion coming up with my ex over text. So, I was able to pick up some really useful hints that I could apply right away.”
The NWFF course costs £295 for the ten online modules and three 90-minute coaching sessions. Instalment payments and subsidised places are available.