Four Tips to Reduce Stress During a State of Emergency

Four Tips to Reduce Stress
During a State of Emergency

Shari´ Morris, Family Specialist

By Shari´ Morris

During a state of emergency, it’s natural to wonder how your
parenting time will be affected. Before making an already stressful situation worse, here are four tips for handling court ordered parenting time.

    1. Stay safe. First and foremost, please heed all warnings regarding keeping your child and yourself safe during this time. If you are exchanging your child, be sure to minimize contact with others to reduce risks to you or your child.
    2. Stay calm – for your child’s sake. Remain flexible with your co-parent when it comes to the needs of the child but remember to try and keep as much normalcy for the child as possible. If one parent must leave the home for work and the other one does not, consider allowing the other parent to exercise more parenting time for the sake of potentially not transmitting the virus to the child or any other family members living with the child.
      • This also applies if one parent doesn’t have adequate
        childcare, food and/or educational amenities, while the other one does.

      • If both parents are adequately equipped to handle the quarantined child, maintaining the court ordered parenting time should continue as scheduled. Parents should also consider being flexible and allowing additional parenting time if the co-parent is requesting. This can be helpful to both the parent and the child so they both get a break from inevitable monotony.

    3. Stay cool headed … and don’t involve law enforcement. When normal parenting time disputes arise, calling the police is often the co-parent’s first line of defense. When States of Emergency are in
      place, I advise that each parent work hard to resolve disputes before involving police. In other words, be sure to heavily weigh the pros and cons of involving the police before calling.
    4. Stay patient. Last, if you cannot come to an agreement and the police are unable to provide you with relief, you will have to wait for any remedy, unless it is an emergency, until the courts resume normal business operations.

In summary, try to avoid conflict as much as possible. Conflicting parents will only cause further stress and confusion to the child at this time. Remember what’s important: you and your child are alive and healthy. Try to keep it that way.

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