It is difficult to put my thoughts on paper regarding the pandemic and its effect on families. What will be our memory of the “before” and “after”? How will it affect our hopes, our dreams? How will the pandemic impact the children’s future? I’d like to think there have been some positive outcomes, but what are they?
Parents are under an incredible amount of stress and pressure. Their income may have decreased due to employer layoffs. Relational issues in marriages are escalating – sometimes even over how to approach house rules in the pandemic. School closures have forced re-evaluation of education and childcare. Some parents who work in health care have chosen to have other family members keep their children to avoid exposure when they come home from working in hospitals – thus creating a voluntary estrangement from their own kids.
If necessity is the mother of invention, then creative minds must continue to work to implement safe and reliable methods of learning. Parent participation in education is not “optional” as it was when parents could elect to “home school” or allow teachers to assume that primary role. Reopening of schools will require additional safety precautions and cooperation between teachers and parents. Most schools will offer some form of remote learning curriculum. Divorced or separated parents will need to collaborate between households, so children remain focused and “on tract”. If options are given to parents, teachers may be required to teach both in the classroom AND in the remote learning curriculum – greatly increasing the time commitment to the profession. Some schools have considered a year-round school year with different children attending quarterly sessions. “Summer” as we know it, would be very different if some children’s break is in winter, spring or fall.
Interpersonal communication, or the lack thereof, impacts us all. Infants and young children may not learn the same facial recognition cues if many adults they see have masks covering their faces. Will you still smile under your mask? Will children will be less willing to run to give “a hug” to friends and distant family members? Depression and other mental health issues may result from reduced play time with other children if safe play mechanisms are not provided.
Sports and other extracurricular activities may see drastic changes in the future. Rules regarding social distancing will impact spectators as well as participants. What will be the new normal?
On the bright side, our environment seems to have taken an upturn, with improved air quality and reduced need of fossil fuels due to fewer vehicles on the roads. Work from home options have freed up commute time and increased flexibility. Skies are bluer, fewer cars are crashing, crime is falling, and some other infectious diseases are fading from hospital emergency departments.
My hope is that we as Americans will come together and rise to the challenges this pandemic has put upon us. That we will use our brilliant minds and “think tanks” to come up with solutions that protect both our health and our societal norms. I trust we can and will…
If we can assist you resolve family law issues during these changing times, please give us a call. We offer initial consultations by Zoom teleconference or will meet with you in person, observing social distancing precautions. If your issues require the court’s involvement, most offer zoom or teleconference options and if agreements are reached, many judges allow orders to be signed by submission, or without a hearing at all. We’re here to help.