While there certainly is a lot of reading out there on parenting and divorce, there isn’t a handbook for your specific child. Getting an unexpected medical diagnosis for your child is intensely stressful, emotional, and heartbreaking. But what can take this difficult situation from bad to worse is when your co-parent disagrees with the treatment options you wish to pursue. How do you handle a disagreement when the issue is your child’s health? We have a few tips to help co-parents navigate this really complicated issue.
Only Talk When You are Both Calm, Cool, & Collected
The time period directly after receiving a serious medical diagnosis should not be the time to argue about treatment. Instead, if you can, take some time to process the news. If you cannot process the diagnosis with your co-parent, step away to access your own support system and work through what this may mean for your child. When you can think more clearly, come back together to talk about treatment. There is nothing wrong with telling your co-parent that you need a moment and providing them with a specific timeframe when you will be ready to discuss options.
Look at Options Objectively
There is nothing more emotionally charged than seeing your child sick. However, when communicating about their care with the other parent, you need to take an objective approach. Come prepared to talk. Before the meeting, write down your perspective. Back up any of your thoughts with paperwork from doctors or other medical professionals. Have other options ready to discuss and think about why you would or would not be supportive of those other options.
Try to Put Yourself In Their Shoes
While you may disagree about the treatment of your child, try to see the perspective of the other parent. Understand that they are coming from the place of wanting the best for your child as well, and they are doing what they feel is right. When addressing the other parent, try to come from a place of compassion for them as well, they are feeling the same fear you are.
If All Else Fails, Get a Neutral Third-Party Involved
Sometimes you just can’t overcome a disagreement by yourself. That is ok! A mediator is a perfect neutral third-party to help you resolve a disagreement as important as the health of your child. They are specifically trained to navigate high-conflict and emotionally charged topics.
Need help with a co-parenting issue? West Coast Family Mediation Center can assist you. Call (858) 736-2411 to schedule a free virtual consultation to discuss your particular situation.