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Navigating the perils of co-parenting now



How communicating works

communication, parenting, co-parenting, divorced

Co-parenting between split parents, or a mother and father who never had a relationship besides parenting, has been fraught with its own responsibilities these past pandemic months. Governments have recognized the need to move kids between households during these times. But there are still concerns that can be alleviated with planning and care.

Nell Frizzell of British Vogue noted that reopenings may be making things harder rather than easier for many co-parenting situations.

“There is still enough gray area to create friction amongst even the most harmonious of parenting teams,” she writes as she examines several case studies, and checks in with specialists. “What is the legal standing for co-parents during the pandemic, now that lockdown is lifting?”

Legal standing is less an issue, she adds, than the ways in which two parents can agree on what they can and should do in the best interests of their shared child, as well as their individual households. The key is communication between the parents and a sensible approach to everybody’s health, experts tell her. A solution that one parent may think is right and proper may, for entirely understandable reasons, worry another parent.

“Each family needs to make safe, practical, sensible arrangements taking into account their personal circumstances,” Frizzell quotes a leading attorney in the field. “If you do decide to change your child arrangements orders then I advise that you have that written down, even just in an email or a text message – any form of written communication, as a point of record.”

It’s further noted that, if for any reason, the child is not seeing one parent, the expectation is that there needs to be some sort of continued contact, perhaps through Zoom or WhatsApp.

Frizzell notes that clinical psychologist Dr. Katie Adolphus is keen to point out that the way we’re all experiencing the pandemic will be different. In processing what is going on we will all probably go through various different stages: denial (telling ourselves it’s just the flu), defending (it’s okay, it won’t happen to me), despair (feeling that everything is hopeless), and deciding (making a practical plan for the areas of life we still can control). “But as co-parents, living in different places, you may be at different stages of this process to each other,” she says. “There is also a primal urge, during times of stress and danger, to want to keep your child close. That is understandable.”

Of course, everyone agrees that, as Frizzell puts it, “there may be moments of considerable tension, irritation and disagreement along the way.”

Talk about the ways in which the pandemic has disrupted everything!



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