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What is parallel parenting?

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Divorce is tough: rebuilding your life afterward might be tougher. If you have children with your ex-spouse and a joint custody order, you must rebuild your life with this in mind.

Particularly if you went through a very high-conflict divorce, the idea of continuing to parent with your ex-spouse may seem like a court-imposed punishment. However, high-conflict families often benefit from parallel parenting. According to Healthline, parallel parenting involves allowing children equal access to both parents but separating the parents from each other in order to reduce conflict.

What makes parallel parenting different?

The traditional post-divorce parenting situation is co-parenting. With co-parenting, the parents will often work together publicly to raise their children. For instance, it is not uncommon for families to throw joint birthday parties for children, or attend dance recitals or sporting events in support of the child.

With parallel parenting, the parents are not in the same place at the same time. It is likely that a family may throw multiple birthday events for the child. It is also possible that one parent will support the child by attending the dance recital or sporting event. The other parent may attend the post-game ice cream social or pizza party.

How does this help?

Remember that the court did not mandate joint custody to punish the parents. Rather, children do best with both parents actively involved in their lives. Parallel parenting allows high-conflict families a way to benefit their children while lessening the amount of conflict.

Sometimes parallel parenting situations can evolve into a more traditional co-parenting arrangement after some time. In other situations, permanent parallel parenting is the best option for everybody.

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