How many news stories have you read about divorced celebrities who go on vacation together with their children and go on picnics together as a family? These and parents like them are applauded for putting aside their differences and getting along for the sake of their children. In a perfect world, every divorced couple could do this.
However, not all couples can, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still put their children’s needs first. They just need a different style of parenting due to their volatile relationship. If you are among those couples, you may want to know more about parallel parenting.
What is parallel parenting?
Some parents simply can’t get past the destruction of their personal relationships. Anytime they are in the same room together, conflict erupts. Even so, each parent recognizes that the children love both parents, and they should have as much time with each parent as possible. If this is you, then traditional co-parenting won’t work, but you may be able to handle minimizing contact between you and the other parent.
This is the hallmark of parallel parenting. You avoid personal contact as much as possible and communicate only in a predetermined way and only about the children when necessary. Unlike traditional co-parenting, you and your future ex-spouse don’t have to agree on parenting styles such as discipline or scheduling. Each of you decides how to spend your time with the children without interference from the other. Your time is your time.
What are the benefits of parallel parenting?
In addition to having the freedom to spend your time with your kids as you see fit, you may also enjoy the following benefits of parallel parenting:
- You create your own house schedule and rules
- You structure your family any way you like
- You reduce the amount of conflict between you and the other parent
- You reduce stress for everyone involved
In order to work, you will need to work out some logistics with your ex-spouse. You will also need to let go of any temptation to try to control how the other parent spends his or her time with the children. You may also need to recognize that you and the other parent may not be at a point where you can speak reasonably about, well, anything other than the fact that you love your children.
Over time, as your feelings and emotions calm down, you may be able to have more contact with the other parent. Until then, parallel parenting may be the answer to your co-parenting questions. If you properly document your arrangement, it could serve you both for at least the near future.