How to co-parent in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic

How to co-parent in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - This week we are talking about coparenting in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

So many questions surrounding ‘How do you parent children in the middle of a quarantine when parents live in two different houses?’ It’s a reality for a lot of people.

First off let’s be clear: If there is a custody agreement in place, then you don’t get to override it simply because we are in a shelter-in-place moment. The exception is if both parents decide it’s best to delay visits for whatever reason.

But if both parents don’t agree the custody agreement stands firm.

Secondly, you have to keep communication open. Now more than ever you have to answer the phone and respond to texts and even emails in a timely manner.

“The kids are around all of the time so if you’re angry they can hear you, so parents have to be more vigilant and display positive skills with their other parent so that it doesn’t add to the child’s stress and anxiety," says Dr. Jann.

"Right now kids are all stressed out. They can’t see their friends, they can’t do anything and then they have two parents yelling in the background so you parents have to be vigilant in returning phone calls,” she continued.

Keep in mind if there is a court order in place that sets forth visitation for your child and their other parent, you are bound to it. Withholding a child from their other parent is a form of parental alienation.

And if that’s happening to you there are steps you can take. Document everything, keep a diary if necessary and make notes of time spent with the child, conversations, and how exchanges went with the other parent.

If you have trouble communicating with your ex, try to communicate in writing. That way you both have a record of agreements and things discussed.

Maintain your relationship. The best way to fight another parent’s emotional manipulation is to prove them wrong. Keep the child first by making them feel loved and wanted when they are with you.

And if that doesn’t work, well, take it to court.

“Once this all opens up, if they are withholding a child there is recourse. You know, I would document all those things. There’s recourse. No court is going to abdicate withholding a child.”

Dr. Jann is the author of the book Co-parenting Through Separation and Divorce. She also has a website called Bonus Families which offers some fantastic co-parenting tips.

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