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Should you consider parallel parenting?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2024 | Child Custody |

Some ex-partners can forge an amicable co-parenting relationship after their divorce. But sometimes, there are too many contentious emotions to make co-parenting a reality.

Another option is parallel parenting, which allows both parents to be involved in their children’s lives without having to interact with each other.

The benefits and drawbacks of parallel parenting

Parallel parenting is an arrangement where both parents are actively involved in their children’s lives, but there is minimal direct communication between them. It’s typically used to reduce tension and potential disputes in highly contentious divorces. It provides benefits such as:

  • Reduced conflict through minimized interaction. Communication is usually through written forms like emails and parenting apps. These avenues can be less emotionally charged than face-to-face or phone conversations.
  • Children still benefit from both parents’ active involvement and support.
  • Each parent’s responsibilities and decision-making authority are clearly defined, reducing ambiguity and power struggles.
  • Children are shielded from witnessing ongoing parental conflict.
  • Parents can focus more on their caregiver roles rather than their personal conflicts.
  • Over time, reduced conflict may lead to improved communication and cooperation.

Still, parallel parenting isn’t without its drawbacks, including:

  • Difficulty with trying to coordinate important decisions, such as the children’s education, health and extracurricular activities.
  • Differences in parenting styles and rules may lead to confusion and inconsistency for the children.
  • Written communication can sometimes lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. 
  • The lack of cohesion and providing a united front can affect the children’s perception of family unity.
  • Over time, the patterns and habits established in parallel parenting may become entrenched, making it harder to adapt to a different co-parenting relationship.

Parallel parenting may seem like an ideal solution for couples in constant conflict and whose conversations dissolve into screaming matches. Removing the direct interaction portion of their relationship provides a better parenting relationship between them and their children. However, it should only be a temporary solution. When hurt feelings and anger eventually subside, both parents should make it a goal to establish a more collaborative co-parenting plan.



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