Social distancing is difficult for everyone, but it can be especially hard for split families.
Utah parents who are separated are in a tough spot. Should their children be going back and forth from house to house? 2News talked with Doug Goldsmith, a child psychologist. He has some tips for co-parenting during the coronavirus outbreak.
“These are totally unusual situations. None of us have ever faced this," Goldsmith said, admitting that parents have never had to deal with a situation quite like this. Many of the families he works with are uncertain on how best to handle the situation.
There’s a lot of high-conflict families that have a hard time sharing this information in the best of times.
During a global pandemic, the situation only gets more stressful.
“We really encourage the parents to sit down and look at risk management between the two homes,” Goldsmith said.
Parents need to be on the same page when it comes to social distancing. Often times, Goldsmith sees split parents disagree on how best to social distance their children.
If they can’t trust the parent to keep kids at home and the parent is saying 'I don’t mind the kids going on play dates,' that’s increasing the risk
During all of the uncertainty, Goldsmith said it’s important that children of separation stick to a schedule and still get to see each parent during a regular routine. The only time he would suggest children stay with one parent is if someone in the other household is at high risk for complications with COVID-19.
If parents are struggling to agree on how to handle social distancing with their children, Goldsmith suggests asking a professional for help.
“It would be helpful for parents to talk to a therapist and say 'help us work through this communication,'” he said.
If families choose to keep children with one parent during this period of social distancing, Goldsmith said it's important children make up that time with another parent in the future.