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How do you parallel parent?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Divorce

As divorcing parents of minor children, you need to keep cooperating to raise those children. Yet, the turmoil of a divorce ( and the events that led to it) can make that incredibly challenging.

What then? What if you just cannot get along enough to co-parent?

Parallel parenting offers an alternative when co-parenting is not realistic

A dose of realism can go a long way. Once you accept that you are not yet at a point where you can talk about things without every conversation having the potential to turn into a full-blown argument, you can look for ways to reduce your contact.

Remember that conflict is damaging for your kids. So if not talking to each other is what’s required to keep the peace, it may be what you need to do. Here are some ways you can do that:

1. Set out how you will communicate

Maybe you agree to communicate only via email and between 9 and 6 on weekdays, except for emergencies. You could use something like a shared calendar or parenting app to reduce the need to talk. If you each enter events relevant to your child there, you let each other know without direct communication.

2. Leave the other person to parent as they see best

If your child is with their other parent, they might go to bed later than you like. They might not eat as healthily as you like, or they might see a movie you’d rather they didn’t. Just accept that parents don’t all think the same and that most things are not really going to harm your kids. The only time you should step in is if your child is in danger. 

3. Arrange handovers to minimize contact between parents

Maybe you agree not to discuss anything at a handover, as things could easily flare up in front of the kids. Or perhaps you use school starting and finishing as the handover time to reduce the chance of lateness by one parent becoming an issue that leads to an argument.

While it would be ideal if you could co-parent, parallel parenting is sometimes the best choice, at least for the moment. Take legal help to understand how to build your custody plan around it in a divorce.