Trick or treat? Sounds like a description of some co-parental relationships.
This COVID-19 thing is difficult enough to navigate when parents get along. When separated, each may hold more strongly to their views of how to manage.
At heart is fear and one’s assessment as to the credibility or perceived threat of the virus particularly in view of contact with the elderly or those with vulnerabilities from pre-existing conditions. Then when separated parents do not get along, any difference can be magnified.
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So sure, you can run to court, but is there time and will any particular Order be followed. Win or lose, the child will be caught in the middle.
Navigating Halloween successfully may mean gathering more information. Such information can include:
- The child’s costume/mask and the degree to which it may offer protection;
- The neighborhood in which your child is walking about and if neighbors themselves are engaging in safer practices;
- The willingness of a parent to avoid a home where the handing out of treats is not done so safely;
- The willingness of a parent to disinfect or wait several days before handing treats;
- Willingness to remove and discard or put the costume away for a period of time after use.
If some of the questions answered can ease concerns, parents may find themselves able to manage a more traditional Halloween.
If, however, those answers cannot provide a resolution, then perhaps developing some alternatives might. Generating alternatives to the traditional Halloween can offer respite from all or none thinking. Be creative and develop a list of different ways to approach Halloween altogether. Here’s just three examples of alternatives, leaving it up to others to suggest more:
- A party parade of costumes where distancing can be better managed, and the kids receive a treat at the end of the parade where the treats are laid out on a table top;
- An on-line event and contest for the most creative costume;
- Online or backyard group storytelling where again, social distancing can be facilitated;
Hopefully with either more information or a creative alternative, parents get resist the either/or dispute and show their kids not only a good Halloween, but how to apply problem solving methods to promote peace.
Put peace in their bag of goodies and it will be a successful Halloween.
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW is a Canadian Social Worker in private practice. He is recognized from his 65 episodes of the hit show Newlywed/Nearly Dead, to over 650 columns as the parenting expert of a major metropolitan newspaper, to more than 350 media appearances, to his book, Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout Canada and the US and helps family peacemakers grow their practice.