This short activity demonstrates the impact of parental conflict on children. The activity is designed to increase participants’ motivation to work cooperatively with their child’s mother and other parenting team members. From Pamela Wilson and the National Partnership for Community Leadership
To demonstrate the impact of parental conflict on children. To increase participants’ motivation to work cooperatively with their child’s mother and other team members. To introduce a list of rights and responsibilities for unmarried parents raising children cooperatively.
- Leader Resource - The IALAC Story
- The Family Bill of Rights Handout
- Two large sheets of brightly colored paper
- Write the word IALAC in large letters on each sheet of paper. Tear several big pieces off one of the sheets.
- Make extra copies of the handout. After the session, the fathers may want to take an extra copy of the Family Bill of Rights to share with their child(ren)’s mother.
- Tell the men that you will end this session with an activity to help them think about team parenting from their children’s perspective. Tell the group that you want to read them a story that will dramatize the impact that parents’ conflict can have on their children’s self-esteem. Explain that you’ve made the story rather exaggerated to make a point.
- Hold up the intact IALAC sign. Read the story from the leader resource. Be dramatic with your reading, taking time to rip off a piece of the sign each time you see the word “rip” on the leader resource. You should just have a small piece of the sign at the end of the reading.
- At the end of the reading hold up the second sign with the pieces torn off. Say, “When Andre was all grown up, his IALAC sign had done a lot of mending. Young people are very resilient. BUT there were some pieces that were gone FOREVER.
- After the reading ask the following questions:
- What did you think of the IALAC story?
- What was the point for you?
- What kinds of situations occur between you and your child’s mother that might cause your child’s IALAC sign to crack?
- What could you and your child’s mother do to help your child feel more loveable and capable?
- Now distribute the handout, the Family Bill of Rights. Explain that these rights apply to parents who live separately but want to raise their children cooperatively.
- Ask for a volunteer to read it or read it yourself aloud to the group. Get reactions from the group.
- What do you think about the IALAC story and the Bill of Rights?
- What fits for your life? What impact will any of this have on your relationship with your child’s mother? On your relationship with your child?