What is parallel parenting?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | Child Custody

When couples with children divorce, the expectation is that they will co-parent. They will work together to raise their children, regardless of how the time with the child is split.

Sometimes, this is an unrealistic ask. The problems between the couple are simply too great to suddenly put aside just because they are divorcing. This is where parallel parenting could be a more feasible option.

In co-parenting, you work together to raise the children. In parallel parenting, you work apart but in parallel. The end goal is still to raise a healthy, well-rounded child. It’s just that from now on, you will each take your own route to achieve that.

You make the decision when the child is with you

For example, maybe you feel your spouse is overprotective, constantly ringing the children whenever they go out to check in on them and insisting they are home by 8 pm. You, on the other hand, believe that children need the freedom to have fun and make mistakes. This is how they will learn to be independent adults capable of making sensible choices.

If you choose to parallel parent, here is how that might look: If the child is staying with you, you give them the freedom you choose. If they are staying with your spouse, then the child needs to comply with their rules, and if that parent chooses to ring them every half hour and bring them home early, so be it, it’s none of your business, and you won’t comment. Likewise, they will agree not to comment on how you parent.

Limited communication is the key to success

One of the ways you will avoid potential conflict is by cutting communication to the minimum. It can be a great idea where differences of opinion tend to get heated fast or where one party turns violent. So you cut out the face-to-face meeting and perhaps the phone calls and restrict communication to email or something similar.

Most parents can co-parent, especially as time advances and the wounds heal. Yet, when co-parenting will only lead to more conflict, opting to parallel parent may be better for everyone.