Pandemic parenting is a challenge.
Now that we’ve been dealing with the pandemic for six months and schools are opening, or maybe not and only going remote, parents are in a quandry. There are so many decisions to make and there are no right answers. Everyone has a somewhat different risk tolerance and although everyone wants to stay safe and healthy, all do not agree on the same rules. This is particularly true for divorced parents who share care of their children.
The most important thing to remember is that both parents need to keep in mind that they need to act in the best interests of their children. Anger sometimes gets in the way and old feelings can get acted out through decision making about the children. Many things need to be considered. First, it is of primary importace to be aware of the health risks of people in your pod. If parents already have a compromised immune system, then the rules will be stricter. One family I work with has a parent who recently had heart surgery and is very weak. This person absolutely cannot afford to get sick and his chidren need to be extra careful. Although the kids, who are young teens, are a bit resentful, they understand the seriousness of the issue and have accepted their limitations.
In contrast, another family i work with has two healthy parents and the kids believe they are invinsible. One parent agrees and the other is unsure of this and feels the kids still need to be very careful. This parents are arguing about allowing their teens to travel on the subway. Many things have recently been written about mental health during this pandemic. It is clearly understood that people need to socialize, especially teens as developmentally, they are peer oriented and need to be with friends. But caution is still appropriate and taking small steps, short trips, not during prime time and of course wearing a mask and using hand sanitizer will help with the comfort level. There are no right answers. This is an opportunity for parents to work together to make the best possible decisions they can, and let their children know that they are being taken care of and cared about.
We do not know what impact the Covid crisis will have on our chidren, but they will always remember the summer of 2020. Let’s try to help make the fall a good one, no matter what….