What is Parallel Parenting and Why Use it?

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Parallel parenting is a term I recently came across, and while I do not have a formal parallel parenting plan in place through the court system, I, in fact, am a parallel parent with my second ex-husband.

Having a parallel parenting plan may be best for you and your children if your divorce is high conflict or your ex is toxic

I always thought I was co-parenting with a narcissist, and this was my way of protecting myself and my child, but there is an actual term for it. I parallel parent due to the high-conflict nature of his personality, our relationship, a contentious divorce that caused many hurt feelings, and some people need strict boundaries.

I found that limited communication and only communicating only when necessary allows me less stress and anxiety in my life. There are fewer conflicts between us, leading to court hearings, fewer moments of getting attacked and criticized, which triggers a trauma response, and, in turn, my child is happier and healthier.

How is parallel parenting different from co-parenting?

Co-parenting is when two separate parents work together to raise a child. Co-parenting is more flexible and open, and the relationship between the co-parents is neutral. Co-parents can communicate in a friendly, healthy manner.

Co-parents have put their hurt or divorce aside and commit to raising their children with the same rules, discipline, and goals across separate households. They are essentially raising their children together but in separate homes.

Parallel parenting vs. co-parenting, the main goal of parallel parenting is making sure that the child has an active relationship with both parents after divorce or separation. Parallel parenting allows parents to raise their children in their households how they see fit without consulting the other parent. Still, they raise the child or children their own way. Rules, discipline, everyday decisions are individual.

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What is Parallel Parenting?

A parallel parent knows it is important for the child to be involved in the other parent’s life, but the parent essentially doesn’t want to be involved with the ex due to the high-conflict situation. The positives of parallel parenting outweigh the negative interactions.

Parallel parenting is when two parents agree to have limited interaction and implement their own way of raising their children…separately. The parents may share joint legal custody of the child or children, but they raise their child on their terms.

Communication is limited with their co-parent; more minor decisions are made individually while the child is at their home during their custody time. Only more significant decisions about the child are communicated, such as medical decisions or school and education.

For parallel parents, conflict is reduced by limiting communication and interaction. Limited contact and communication serve as a benefit to the child and the parent.

Why Would You Use Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting is implemented in high conflict divorces or custody cases due to the parent’s inability to get along or domestic violence cases. It is a way to disengage from one another to safeguard the mental and emotional health of the child and the co-parents involved.

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting is the perfect solution for feuding parents. It allows them to have a significant role in their child’s life without interacting with each other too often, which can cause arguments and fighting.

You will implement parallel parenting if you need boundaries from your ex. Only necessary communication is used and nothing more. Usually, a court-ordered co-parenting app, such as Our Family Wizard, is used to have straightforward about the child and the child only.

The communication is strictly about the child but limited to significant milestones, school, and medical care. Interaction with the ex-spouse is contained.

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A Strict Custody Schedule

The courts may set up a court-ordered custody schedule, and you and your ex follow it strictly. Exact times and dates, defined pick-ups and drop-offs are defined, and who and where. There is no room for flexibility for the child is the only downfall.

Having a strict custody plan, however, avoids unneeded fights. The custody plan is set in stone, with limited arguments. With detailed plans in place, you’re able to protect everyone involved, and the child, in turn, has some stability and predictability.

You and Your Ex Argue in Front of Your Children

Parallel parenting limits confrontations in front of the child. Many experts believe kids who witness these arguments suffer from psychological problems as well as emotional distress.

Having a designated person do public drop off and picks ups in high conflict exes is often implemented in parallel parenting; this spares the child’s anxiety about what happens between their parents at exchanges and likely avoids many augments and conflict in front of the child. This saves the child and the parent a ton of anxiety and mental anguish.

Read: Child Custody Provisions to Consider in A High Conflict Divorce

You are Co-Parenting with a Narcissist.

When you are co-parenting with a narcissist, your mental and emotional health and your child’s are constantly compromised. Limited interaction with these individuals is important.

There will never be a middle ground in your “co-parenting” together, false accusations in court, you name it. Narcissists love attention, negative or positive, as long as they get it. Parallel parenting allows you to break free from your narcissist and move on with your life. Parallel parenting allows you to have boundaries, which is necessary.

You want your child to have a relationship with your ex, but you personally do not. If you find or know you will always have negative communication or interactions with your ex, parallel parenting may be the best for everyone involved. Sometimes boundaries, a strict plan, and everything written out with the court are the best things you can do for yourself and your child’s well-being.

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