On the 29th of March 2020, the Minister of Social Development Lindiwe Zulu officially prohibited the movement of children from one parent to another during the lockdown. This is after she had pleaded with co-parents to decide for the children’s wellbeing and theirs.
She had made a recommendation that parents need to decide which parent the children will be staying with during the 21-day lockdown.
This recommendation changed to an actual legal stipulation, which meant that parents had no choice but to decide.
This was not an easy decision for the department to take and left many parents questioning how the new arrangement would affect co-parents’ schedules and their own rules when it comes to their children. How can both parents continue parenting their children together during this time?
Child Psychologist Benedict Mhlongo says: “Amidst the lockdown challenges that have brought about a lot of strain and stress, one finds themselves reflecting on the transition it has inflicted, especially within the co-parenting fraternity”.
After a sound and mutual decision has been reached, it is important for both parties to ensure that the other is given virtual access to the child.
Human beings are capable of building strong bonds during times of adversity. For co-parenting relationships that have not been functioning, now is the perfect time to work on their communication. The other parent can offer updates regarding what the children are doing and how they are coping during this time.
Mlhongo also advises clear communication is still going to be key for co-parents to make this work.
If you are still unclear on what government regulations are around co-parenting during the national lockdown:
Some tips to consider:
- Using Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp Video for phone calls
- Scheduling time for calls to ensure calls are not disruptive to school work
- Encouraging your child to talk about their feelings- if they are missing the other parent
- Speak to the other parent about a plan should a child/children become sick