Covid-19 is playing games with the world and changing the rules as it goes along.

At a time when life is at risk, we need to all take stock and stop the silly games we sometimes play which are mostly meaningless and always counter-productive.

Like the games being played by far too many people involved in custody disputes and ongoing bickering between blended families.

No matter how bitter a dispute might be, now is the time to put differences aside and think of the children. Think of the workability of any custody situation in a coronavirus world. As well as thinking of all the stepparents out there who are going to have to be playing their part during this crisis with various stepchildren.

With any divorced, blended or separated families it is always difficult times for kids to be shuffling between homes.

Covid-19 is playing games with the world and changing the rules as it goes along.

At a time when life is at risk, we need to all take stock and stop the silly games we sometimes play which are mostly meaningless and always counter-productive.

Like the games being played by far too many people involved in custody disputes and ongoing bickering between blended families.

No matter how bitter a dispute might be, now is the time to put differences aside and think of the children. Think of the workability of any custody situation in a coronavirus world. As well as thinking of all the stepparents out there who are going to have to be playing their part during this crisis with various stepchildren.

With any divorced, blended or separated families it is always difficult times for kids to be shuffling between homes.

If you are in a high conflict situation, how on earth do you express your feelings?

What if you are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum as to whether you even think Covid-19 is as serious as someone else might think?

What if the other family isn’t taking the same precautions you are?

What if the lines of communication are so broken that you don’t even know if they are or they aren’t?

Do you even want your stepchildren to be coming over during this trying time? Or do you have a situation where the thought of missing out on child support by one or both parties is driving ridiculous demands?

You might be self-isolating correctly, but if you are a stepparent, you actually have no control over what is happening at your stepchildren’s other household.

For simplicity, say you are a step mum married to your stepchildren’s father and you have a couple of children of your own and you have your stepchildren staying over every alternate week or some parts of that week.

For the 10 days your stepkids are not in your care, what are the precautions their mother is taking? Are they then going to come over to your home having been susceptible to the virus and infect your household.

This is especially pertinent if dinner with the paternal grandparents and great grandparents is one of the highlights of the stepkids’ weekend.

Now, more than ever is the time for communication.

Bitter divorces and separations elicit behaviour people would ordinarily never even think possible.

There again, look at Australia in the last couple of weeks and who on earth would have thought scuffles would have broken out in supermarket aisles? Over, of all things, toilet paper!

As a stepparent myself, I’ve been in the position of many who would be finding it tough if their stepchildren’s parents are not taking the same precautions and contingency plans that my own household is taking.

If a stepchild is exposed at their home, then they could carry the virus to yours.

It is an incredibly surreal and stressful feeling not to have control over a situation under your own roof.

My own reference point is a scary whooping cough incident while we had a one-month-old baby and a thirteen-month-old at our house. No surprises, our household came down with the same disease a few days later. Most of us shook it off quickly enough. Sadly, the repercussions for the thirteen-month-old were ongoing for many years.

The Corona virus is the biggest thing to have hit the world in most peoples’ living memories.

There is no cure and it is a situation changing every hour.

I urge everyone to think and treat everyone in your children’s lives with respect.

You might hate the fact your ex-husband has run off with his secretary and is now playing happy families with her and that they may now have a child together.

You might be in the middle of a bitter property settlement battle. There might be ongoing resentment about how the old relationship was, how it ended or how you ended up after the inevitable property splitting.

BUT, you need to remember – your ex-husband or your ex-wife is your ex.

They are not your child’s ex. They will always be your child’s father or mother.

The fact there is now a stepparent on the scene is now a reality you must deal with, especially in these extraordinary times.

You might not like it at all. You have a right not to like the stepparent but you do not have a right to facilitate high conflict situations.

Trying to co-parent with a high conflict ex is really not parenting and it does not lead to positive outcomes.

Neither parent can control the other. You are actually equal parents in the eyes of the law, regardless of your custody visitation schedule.

A high conflict person’s goal is actually to maintain the hostility and conflict and not achieve any resolution.

Buying into all the drama results in wasted emotions and endless challenges that result in nothing except futility.

Most stepparents want to and do try to do the right thing, but if they are thwarted at every turn by their stepchildren’s hostile parent, it makes life incredibly difficult.

There may be some parents using Covid-19 as a bargaining chip in NOT letting their children see the other parent and that should be called out for what it is – Machiavellian behaviour.

They may be exaggerating the situation simply to gain the upper hand in an ongoing custody dispute or even use Covid-19 as leverage to suit their agenda.

Think I am making any of this up? Think again.

Please, especially during this real-life global emergency, treat others how you would like to be treated yourself.

Open up your communication channels. Come together with a workable plan between both households to keep you all safe.

Don’t wait until it might be time to organise funeral arrangements to realise how silly you might have been.