Sometimes your relationship with your co-parent is so toxic that traditional co-parenting does not work. What some parents find works for them instead is “parallel parenting.”
What is parallel parenting versus co-parenting?
Co-parenting involves a certain amount of cooperation between parents. Parents will agree on rules the child will follow, will present a united front and will attend events, activities and other special days together with their child. If problems arise, co-parents will work together to resolve them in an amicable manner.
This type of cooperation is not always possible if a divorce was very contentious. Parents who find co-parenting to be impossible may instead consider parallel parenting.
Parents who choose parallel parenting will execute a parenting plan that specifically lays out when they have the child in their care, how child custody exchanges will operate and what to do if there needs to be a cancellation in parenting time or make-up times.
Other than that, parallel parents make decisions separately regarding the daily care of their child. They need not communicate in person. They often communicate via email, text or in writing with a shared notebook.
Benefits of parallel parenting
Through parallel parenting, both parents can continue being a part of their child’s life, even if they do not get along with one another. Parallel parenting allows both parents to enjoy joint custody while avoiding causing more conflict with one another that could harm the child. This can help the child adjust to life post-divorce and allows everyone to move forward in an emotionally healthy manner.