Conversation best for parents when making vaccine decision
COVID-19 has been a tough time for everyone, including families, as they try to navigate what's best for them and their loved ones.
Vaccines were just made available to kids between the ages of five and 11 this week and while it will likely be an easy decision for some, others may find themselves facing a debate.
"Across the pandemic, all families have been impacted by these changes and new grounds that they're trying to cover and I think it's posed some particular challenges to co-parenting," said family lawyer Jessica Pugliese. "The biggest emphasis from my perspective has been on improving communication and conflict resolution."
Pugliese says the best course between parents is to always try and figure this out between themselves and not in the courtroom.
"It's really looking at what's in a child's best interest and that's what a court is going to do as well," she said.
"Every child and every family is different so the needs of different children and the needs of different families aren't cookie-cutter and they're never going to be precisely the same so it's always a good approach in either a co-parenting or regular parenting situation to have an open and Frank conversation with the other parent about what their perspective is and why," said Pugliese.
She says if you can come to a consensus between the two of you before seeking legal advice, it saves people a lot of time, effort and money.
"And again with the caveat that every child might have different circumstances, a judge is always going to look at what's in the best interest of the child and we do have an absolute tendency to defer to what the evidence is before them and if that evidence is that Public Health is advising and supporting public health measures and vaccines, that's certainly going to be very compelling," she said.
"You know I think it's really important to recognize, on both sides of the issue, vaccinating kids or not vaccinating them, you have a parent who loves their child so it's really important for parents to keep that in mind," said Alan McQuarrie, executive director of the Community Counselling Centre of Nipissing.
McQuarre says parents may be categorically opposed to their partner or former partner's decision but by recognizing that you have something in common and that you care about your child, that's key to keep in mind.
He tells CTVNews, COVID has been a stressful time for families and they're certainly seeing it walk through their front doors.
"It's so easy to get caught up in all kinds of ineffective arguments and debates and I really think it's important that people recognize the vaccine decision is often an emotional decision. It's not something that people reason about, often it's something they feel in their gut so having debates around the facts, sometimes it doesn't go a long way," he said.
McQuarrie says their phone has been ringing off the hook. Often times it's people struggling to deal with depression, loneliness and anxiety. It's also having a spill-over effect for things like domestic violence and addiction.
The toll from the pandemic is carrying over into the Christmas season so people need to focus on things like family.
"To let an argument over vaccines interrupt that healthy coming together, it's really important that people don't let that happen," he said.
The Counselling Community Centre of Nipissing offers a walk-in clinic for anyone in need of help dealing with the pandemic, feeling stuck or anxious. You can find more information here.