Parenting during coronavirus has been high in my thoughts over the last few days, as my ex-husband and I discuss how to manage the “what-ifs” and possible scenarios that are likely to unfold over the next weeks in the UK.
We have already been told to practice social distancing, to avoid travel and social groups – so how do we reconcile this with our usual rota for our children’s arrangements in living between two houses?
Parenting during coronavirus
In my case, we have created a parenting during coronavirus plan, so that we know what will happen should we go into lockdown (they will stay where they are), and what will happen if one of our children gets ill at one of our houses (they will stay where they are).
We both accept that it may mean that we don’t see our children for some time. Once we are able, our normal rota will resume.
It is always best if you can discuss these things with your ex-partner, in a reasoned way.
These are unprecedented times, and the interests and health of the children and the family need to come first, whilst still helping relationships to thrive.
If you are struggling with that conversation with your ex-partner, try some of these techniques on my website.
In addition to these tips, here are a couple more tips for parenting during coronavirus.
If you have different views about what is best
If this is the case, breathe, breathe and breathe again. Keeping calm is vital and arguing will only increase the stress and strain both you and your children are already under. There is no rule book for this situation and very little legal guidance.
Turn your ‘listening ears’ on and set an intention to be co-operative and flexible. Listen to understand and remember that we are probably all feeling nervous and unsure right now.
Ask yourself what your best self would do right now.
Try different ways to communicate
If you can, show a united front. If talking face to face always leads to arguing, how else could you communicate?
Perhaps you could use an app like Our Family Wizard
Or you could perhaps ask an independent third party or friend to mediate between you.
Be clear about your intentions
Be honest with yourself about your intentions. If your honest intention is to punish your ex, or to make their life difficult, stop and think. Is this the person you want to be?
Put yourself in your children’s shoes
Put yourself in their shoes. Stand up and imagine being your child, talking to you. What do they feel about this? Are they scared? What message do they have for you?
Be flexible and creative
Imagine yourself as the most flexible and creative person you can imagine. You can think outside the box, to devise new and inventive ways to organise things. What would that you suggest right now?
Be creative too about how to help your children stay in touch with their other parent – take a look at Netflix Parties, arrange daily calls to check-in or have group chats over Facetime or another app. Read stories together over Skype, or listen to the same song and dance together using a video link.
Remember this too shall pass
How you behave now will affect your relationship in the future, so think about what you want your parenting relationship to look like moving forward. How do you want to look back and feel about what you do and say now?
How do you want your children to remember it?
Go back to your vision of what you want your parenting relationship to look like, and use that as your guide.
This article is part of our Stowe guests series and has been kindly written for this blog by Claire Black, from Claire Black Divorce Coach. You can visit here website here.
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