What is parallel parenting?

Reinventing your life after divorce may be the most difficult aspect of the entire process. Particularly if you and your ex-spouse will raise children together after the divorce, managing the logistics might seem insurmountable. If you and your ex went through a very contentious divorce or if your ex suffers from personality disorders, the idea of trying to parent with him or her is likely not pleasant.

This is where parallel parenting comes in. According to Healthline, parallel parenting allows parents to share custody but keeps the parents from being in the same place at the same time.

What does it look like?

Parallel parenting is different from traditional co-parenting. With traditional co-parenting, it is likely that the family will gather to celebrate holidays, birthdays or even attend dance recitals or sporting events together.

With parallel parenting, this does not happen. For instance, there may be multiple birthday events for a child. One parent may attend the dance recital and the other parent may take the child to the post-recital ice cream social.

How does this benefit us?

Joint custody is generally in the best interest of a child, so long as abuse or substance addiction was not present in the family home. Even if the parents cannot stand each other, the children do best with both parents in their lives. Parallel parenting allows the child to benefit from joint custody while also shielding him or her from the conflict between the parents.

The structure of parallel parenting is also helpful for managing your new relationship with your ex-spouse. Parallel parenting allows parents to focus on the “business” of parenting while not getting wrapped up in personal dynamics.


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