New Single & Parenting study group to provide practical parenting tools
JANESVILLE Vicki Butcher raised four children with her husband, Craig.
Even with help from a spouse, she said, she often felt tired and overwhelmed.
"But for single parents, it's even more overwhelming and intense because they don't have anybody sharing those responsibilities," she said.
About 75 percent of those who attend Sunday morning services at New Life Assembly of God are single parents, Pastor Michael Jackson told Vicki.
He said national statistics show more than 25 percent of kids younger than 18 are being raised in single-parent homes.
"That's a large segment of society, and they have significant challenges that all parents face but some that are unique to their situation. We need to be coming alongside them to help them," Vicki said.
She and her husband decided to co-facilitate a new single and parenting study group at New Life, where they are members.
The group—open to male, female, divorced, widowed and never married parents—will meet weekly for 13 weeks Thursday, Sept. 8, through Thursday, Dec. 8.
"We haven't picked a second start date, but it will be sometime around the end of January or early February," Vicki said.
The study group is intended to be a place where single parents can meet and find practical help and hope. The group will watch videos featuring more than 30 single-parenting experts, hear stories of single parents, see instructional parenting demonstrations and engage in small group discussion, according to an informational brochure.
"It's a place to bring questions, find suggestions, share ideas and find help for common problems most single parents face," Vicki said.
Although the group is biblically based "it's not going to be beating anyone over the head with biblical verses," she said.
Regardless of how a person came to be a single parent, there is trauma that happens within the family that needs to be addressed, and this group can do that, Vicki said.
"There's practical parenting tools about being able to resolve conflict, talking/listening skills, and our last session deals with dating. So it covers a wide range of topics and provides a lot of great resources," she said.
Pastor Jackson has a heart for singles that is apparent through the development of other singles groups—for people who are divorced and for singles preparing to date again—that meet Thursday at the church, Vicki said.
"He wants the community to know these people are vital to our church and social community. They just need us to help them through some things and encourage them," she said.
The group lets single parents know they are not alone and that they have other people they can tap into for ideas, experience and knowledge with the support of the church, Vicki said.
"It's a big open resource to help single parents get the information and the applications that will really make a difference in their lives," she said.
SINGLE & PARENTING
Topics of video sessions that will be part of the Single & Parenting study group launching Thursday, Sept. 8, at New Life Assembly of God Church include:
-- Tired and overwhelmed
-- Your children and your fears
-- Rest and comfort
-- Money and career
-- Parenting goals and expectations
-- Suffering and adversity
-- Emotions and stability
-- Parenting tools and projects
-- Parenting approaches and God's love
-- Talking and listening
-- Conflict and resolution
-- Dating and single sexuality
To join the Single & Parenting study group at New Life Assembly of God Church, 2416 N. Wright Road, Janesville, call the church at (608) 756-4175 or just show up. No advance registration is necessary.
The 13-week study group begins Thursday, Sept. 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., but you can begin attending at any time.
Cost is $25. Scholarships and child care are available.