Beware! The ONE Behavior Courts Will NOT like during the Covid Crisis!

While there are no answers as to how Courts are going to handle disputes that occur as a result of the coronavirus, the one thing Courts are not going to like is failing to communicate!!!

You and your Ex don’t get along. They are intrusive/rude/difficult, they stonewall/shun you/dismiss everything you say. You try to be reasonable and they never respond like a normal person. Welcome to the world of a global pandemic. If you didn’t think things could change – you are now living through MASSIVE CHANGE! If the world can change this much, so can you, and so can your Ex!!!

This is a Crisis – You MUST Communicate!

If we were getting bombed, if we were in New York and it was another 9/11, if a hurricane was headed to your town – you would need to communicate with your Ex. Nothing could be more terrifying than not knowing if your child was okay when a disaster hit in an area where your child was staying. That IS what is happening now!

It’s vital that both parents know if other members of the household are healthy. It’s vital that both parents are communicating what kind of precautions each is taking. It is perfectly okay to disagree about those precautions, and to have a discussion about what is necessary, but each parent gets to ask, and the other parent should answer. Some things you can control in the other person’s household, and some you cannot, but each parent deserves an opportunity to talk to their kids about the risks and what precautions they suggest and most importantly, to know what is happening.

Do not view this as one person trying to control the other. Recognize that this is a stressful, anxiety-producing time for everyone. Not knowing about this virus, about the economy, about when this is all going to end – it’s just awful. Having this fear hanging out there and not knowing what is happening with your child is beyond awful.

If you can’t talk to each other directly – use Text Your Ex!!!! That’s why we are here! It’s a stress-free way to communicate. You will always get a polite, productive, and neutral message. You aren’t hearing your Ex’s voice in your head because the messages are being translated by a neutral third party. You increase communication and improve your relationship with your co-parent, all while making sure you are on the same page about protecting your kids.

Both Parties MUST Allow Communication with the Kids

While we don’t know how Courts will rule about parents who suspend their parenting plans because of concerns over Covid, we do know Courts will not look kindly on parents who do not allow electronic communication between parents and children. This can be difficult, because unlike “traditional” parenting time where contact between parents is limited to the physical exchange, now children’s visits may require both parents to be present the whole time: AWKWARD!!!

Facetime with Toddlers

If you have a toddler, both parents will have to cooperate to be able for the child to see or talk to their other parent. That means one parent has to be there while the other parent interacts with their kid, and the parent trying to spend limited time with their child will know they are being observed. Not an ideal situation for anyone that doesn’t get along great with their Ex.

Keep in mind that a toddler isn’t going to sit long in one place for a lengthy phone call. Try just letting the phone be in baby’s room, or place it out of reach where they can still see it and hear it, but can’t throw it around or hang the phone up. During this strange time, if you can’t physically be with your younger child, then just watching them play, reading them a story, letting them walk up to the phone and show you their toy – this is what parenting time will be about.

Facetime with Younger Kids

Be ready for some silliness. This will not be your typical Zoom interaction like with other family and friends. Kids may not know what to do or how to behave. Try to ignore it and be patient. It will get better as it goes. Try to structure your time where you can ‘hang out’ and just watch them play. Let them show you what they are doing and just talk. Be okay with silence too. Conversation may come and go, and that is perfectly fine and natural. Your kids are going to call the shots on how this goes.

Facetime with Older Kids

If you have older children who are technologically adept, things can still be awkward. The parent where the kids are located doesn’t want to get caught on camera in old pajamas, or get caught saying something stupid – they don’t want to feel like they are being ‘spied’ on in their own home. Likewise, the parent skyping in doesn’t want to have their entire conversation monitored when they are trying to enjoy time with their child.

At the very least, make sure your teenager calls out to their parent when you and your kid start communicating on the computer.

Get Ideas on How to Stay Connected with Your Kids Through Technology.

Make a Schedule!

Try to limit problems by setting up a schedule. Kids can know to be free at a certain time and prepared to divert their attention, and the other parent won’t be caught off-guard and can choose to be in another room or using their headphones during your parenting time. Make the gesture to schedule some time when the other parent needs to be working so that you can keep the kids’ full attention and away from interrupting your co-parent’s work, or set up a time when it can be a break from the kids’ school work.

Don’t Get In Trouble!

Don’t limit electronic communication between your Ex and your kids!

Don’t expect to have electronic access to your kids whenever and as much as you want!

Routine is extremely important during this time. While your kids might not have outside commitments, everyone is still trying to live a normal life so people are still engaged in activities. Don’t expect that your kids and the other parent will be able to just drop everything when you call or try to skype in.

Of course it’s okay to be spontaneous and natural in your communication, but remain respectful. If these circumstances are keeping you from your kids, don’t think that gives you the right to talk to them every hour. And don’t let your Ex use these circumstances as an excuse to revive old battles over your kids.

In this crazy, upside-down world – Be a Normal Person!

How to Maintain a Relationship with Your Child While Under Quarantine

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