The New Beginnings Program (NBP) has been tested through careful research with hundreds of families over the past 20 years. This research was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The program was developed for mothers because research has shown that a positive mother/child relationship is a critical resource for children adjusting to life during and after divorce or separation.  The program addresses the aspects of divorce that cause the most problems for mothers and children -- difficulties in the mother/child relationship and discipline. The program also helps mothers figure out how best to keep their children from getting involved in any conflicts between themselves and their children's father.

What have the studies shown?

Two studies have evaluated the New Beginnings Program. Both studies found that participating in the NBP resulted in children experiencing fewer behavior problems compared with children whose mothers were not in the program. Mothers who participated in the NBP also reported feeling less depressed.

Also, after the program, mothers were more warm and affectionate and used more effective discipline. Research showed that the improvements in children’s  behaviors were due to the parenting skills taught in the program.

In one of the studies, participating families took part in follow-up interviews six years after the program ended. These interviews indicated that, even six years on, participants and their children were still experiencing major benefits from taking part in the NBP. 

Children and adolescents whose mothers were in New Beginnings Program had:

  • Fewer serious behavior and emotional problems
  • Higher grades
  • Higher self-esteem
  • Less drug and alcohol use
  • Less early sexual activity


How long do the improvements last?

Fifteen years after the program, the young adults whose mothers participated in the program still had fewer mental health and substance abuse problems than those whose mothers did not participate in the program. They also had better relationships with their romantic partners.

Listen to mothers talk about their experience with the New Beginnings Program.