These are challenging times; conflict, stress, and spending more time with your family may cause an increase in arguments, and it is difficult to protect children from these arguments when everyone is together for most of the day. Uncertainty regarding the management of the present and future schooling situation is causing parenting disagreements during COVID worldwide; there may be debates over whether to school your children remotely, if you should allow them to attend in person, or perhaps you’re arguing over whether they should still be allowed to see their grandparents when attending school – whatever the circumstance, it is important to remain calm and discuss what is best for your family in a rational manner, one which takes in the opinions of all those involved.
If you and your partner are experiencing difficulties during the pandemic, then we at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, can help to manage any issues that you may be experiencing.
Making School Decisions When One Parent is Laxer on Social Distancing
Coordinating regarding the health of your child may become more difficult when they return to school, and this may cause parenting disagreements during COVID. In the early weeks of the pandemic, it was easy for parents to agree on social distancing parameters – everything was closed. But now that schools, parks, cinemas, and other businesses are opening again, many parents are struggling to see eye to eye.
Whereas it is wise to use common sense, good communication skills, and patience when adhering to social distancing practices when returning to school, this can be problematic if your co-parent is not willing to adhere to these recommendations. The key is to negotiate instead of arguing with each other. Recognize that you are both coming from an area that you believe in, and it is important to acknowledge each other’s stance in order to reach a compromise.
The situation becomes even more problematic when separation, divorce, and step-parents are added to the equation, but parents should aim to remember that this is a stressful time for all involved and many children will already feel anxious about attending school during the pandemic. It is therefore vital that parents agree on consistent rules in their home, or between homes, in order to keep conflict to a minimum. This helps children to feel as secure as possible during a frightening time.
Managing Marital Conflict
The COVID pandemic obliged us to stay indoors for a prolonged period of time, requiring us to spend the majority of our hours in the same surroundings as our loved ones. This meant that we had to figure out new methods of socializing, working, parenting, and co-habituating. Unfortunately, anxiety is rampant during these times, and many people are taking these anxious feelings out on the person closest to them; their partner, therefore possibly resulting in parenting disagreements during COVID.
In fact, the evidence has shown that even after lockdown eased in certain countries, there was a reported surge in divorce filings, as well as in domestic violence. Even couples who experienced few disagreements before the pandemic, and will likely be fine after it, may still be in need of some support and advice in order to mitigate the next few months.
You and your partner may find it helpful to identify the challenges. Spending time together is good for your marriage, but twenty-four hours a day is going to create conflict – take a look at why. Perhaps it’s a lack of space, the fact that they interrupt you too much, your children are bickering and creating stress between you, or your partner is anxious and worried about the future. Whatever the reason, it is vital to address these challenges with your partner in a safe and non-confrontational manner in order to avoid and ease conflict.
Tips for Parenting During Covid-19
Whatever your personal circumstances, this period may have been tough on your mental health and relationships, and as a result, many people have reported parenting disagreements during COVID.
The following are suggestions on how you could potentially ease parenting challenges during the pandemic:
- Spend quality time together – even though we are all spending a lot of time with our loved ones, it is important to prioritize doing fun things together as a family.
- Recognize that it is OK to take personal time – even parents are entitled to time alone. It is also vital that children realize the value of alone time with a preferred activity.
- Keep connected with friends and family – either create a socializing pod or bubble or stay connected via phone or video calls.
- Consider relaxing some of the more stringent rules, such as screen time, during the pandemic. Children may need it to feel connected with the outside world.
- Set a routine – it is still important to have established meal and bedtimes, especially when children return to school.
- Check in on homework – whether schooling remotely, or physically attending, there has been a large time-gap since the last formal classes. Your child may need extra help when catching up.
- Help your children to stay in touch with their friends. This is particularly important if they are attending school remotely.
- Recognize and manage stress – you know your child better than anyone. If you notice changes to their mood, sleep and eating patterns, or anything out of the ordinary regarding your child’s mental health, then you can find a range on online resources to help you and your child cope.
- Celebrate any successes and stay positive – it is a scary time; therefore, it is sometimes tempting to focus on the negative. Thinking positively can help us to overcome all sorts of challenges.
To find out more about how to navigate parenting disagreements during COVID, or to learn about the mental health services provided at HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY, contact us at 518-218-1188.