What is Parallel Parenting?

Generally, co-parenting after a divorce only works in situations where parents can effectively collaborate together to make decisions that benefit the best interests of their children. However, in situations where parents are always at odds, creating a consistently tense and hostile environment, parallel parenting may be a better approach. Parallel parenting is an approach that allows parents to keep everything separate to avoid conflict, requiring very minimal interaction and communication. It is usually considered a last resort when divorced parents cannot get along.

How to Parallel Parent

No two situations are alike, so you and your ex can adjust how you choose to parallel parent according to your unique needs. If you choose to parallel parent, you should consider making these arrangements official to avoid problems in the future.

Here are some tips on how to get started:

  • Figure out how you plan on dividing your time with the children, including how you plan on to split special occasions, such as birthdays and holidays.
  • Set a start and end time for every visit to avoid confusion.
  • Determine where you will drop off and pick up the children. If your situation is particularly hostile, you might even consider having someone neutral take the children back and forth between households.
  • Things do not always move forward as planned, so you should outline how you plan to handle potential cancellations.
  • Although the purpose of parallel parenting is to help prevent disputes, you cannot avoid them entirely. Therefore, you should have a plan in place that addresses how you will overcome these obstacles. For example, you may turn to a mediator if you cannot resolve an issue.

Ultimately, although parallel parenting may not be the most ideal method of parenting, it can help facilitate a less tense environment, which will benefit your children. Moreover, in many cases, after enough time has passed, some parents may even feel comfortable transitioning into a more collaborative approach to parenting.

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