As our community changes from red to yellow to green many families are faced with how to guide their children to proceed. This becomes more compounded when a child has a two-family household system. To increase the confusion there is no rule book on how to navigate the situation. Parents coming together to create their family rule book will allow children to feel safe during this transition. Receiving a united message that protocols will be the same and what they are will allow for less push back as well. Below are suggested co-parenting tips to assist with creating your family’s road map.
4 Ways to Navigate Shared Custody During Unusual & Stressful Circumstances
- Create the rules and expectations both households will follow. This will require both parents to be allowed to have their voice heard and respected by the other. Remember children thrive and feel safe when they have structure and direction so creating this plan together will help keep emotions in check and parents working collaboratively with one another.
- Meet with the children and provide a written copy of what is to be followed in both homes. Posting the information after a family meeting will allow for the information to be digested auditorily and visually. Kids have different learning styles and addressing the same things in more than one way increases the chances of the information being received adequately and effectively.
- Provide this plan to any grandparents, caregivers, etc. Making sure others who interact and care for your children are conducting your wishes will allow for children not to feel confused or torn about who or what to believe during such emotionally complicated times.
- Review the plan weekly. Make sure the climate in your immediate community, state or our country has not changed warranting the need for a change in your individual family plan.
Educating your children that this is a fluid situation which we have no control over is important so they can learn flexibility without increasing their anxiety and fear. Talking to them honestly but in an age appropriate way is always recommended.
Stay healthy and safe by co-parenting in a healthy productive way!
About Shana Schwartz MSS, LCSW
Shana Schwartz MSS, LCSW provides individual and family counseling, parent consultation, school consultation and parent coordination. Ms. Schwartz holds post-graduate training in Mindfulness, Parent Coordination, Mediation, Custody and Collaborative Divorce. Specialty areas include the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, depression, behavioral and adjustment disorders.