Divorce is the best way to end a negative relationship. But it comes with some consequences, especially if you have children. Your children need a good relationship with both parents so chances are that you need to maintain constant communication with your ex. If you can’t bear regular interaction, parallel parenting can be the best solution to handle this situation.
In this parenting style, children can enjoy their quality time with mom and dad. Meanwhile, parents can minimize communication between one another. This strategy is considered the best if there’s a lot of anger and grief in the previous relationship.
What Is Parallel Parenting?
It’s not uncommon that divorce causes bad feelings in a couple. Anger, dislike, and hatred can linger for some time even after a relationship ends.
Unluckily, those feelings could end in a shouting match even in front of the children. Dealing with divorce is hard enough for children without both parents yelling at each other.
Parallel parenting is considered the best solution to help children maintain a good relationship with mom and dad when the parents have a hostile relationship.
This parenting style minimizes the amount of interaction of a couple, which means conflicts can be reduced. Your children don’t need to see you get on your ex’s nerves and vice versa.
This custody agreement is ideal if one parent has mental health issues or physically abusive. It creates a better environment both for parents and for children as the interaction can be set to a minimum.
In other words, parents’ hostile relationship will be less likely to be harmful to the children.
Some people assume that parallel parenting is similar to co-parenting. In reality, parallel and co-parenting are two different arrangements. When you co-parent the children, that means you work jointly with your ex.
The two parents are friendly with each other and they manage to maintain a good relationship. They are able to raise the kids in a healthy environment.
It doesn’t mean people who co-parent their children don’t have bad feelings toward each other.
They might have issues—that’s why they separate—but they are able to hold themselves and put the issues aside. They typically do activities together like attending school meetings or having a picnic.
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Benefits of Parallel Parenting
Why parallel parenting is considered the healthiest arrangement to raise children for parents with the abusive or toxic relationship? Parallel parenting comes with a lot of benefits not only for children but also parents.
Despite some argue that this arrangement can cause more stress for children, it can’t be proven scientifically. Here are some benefits of conducting parallel parenting:
1. Reduces Conflict
Parents don’t need to get along to do activities with the kids. With the parents disengaged from each other, it helps reduce conflict significantly. You don’t get nervous with each other, which is good for all sides.
All you have to do is following the plan as developed by the court. If you need to change the schedule, you might need to ask the court to alternate the plan.
However, this doesn’t mean one parent has decision-making authority over the other. The decision needs to be made without interfering with other parent’s time. If your child asks to do an activity, make sure it takes place during your time.
2. Reduces Stress
Having intense communication with someone you dislike can be stressful. Not to mention you have to pretend that everything is fine only to make your children happy.
Can you imagine how overwhelming it can be? This might happen in co-parenting but it’s unlikely to occur in parallel parenting.
Conducting this parenting arrangement allows you to heal and recover from the wound. You don’t need to have a face-to-face interaction with your ex, which in some cases can trigger your anger. Disengaged from each other makes it easier for you to stay cool and let resentment fade.
3. Help Parents Live a New Life
Partner’s mental issues, physical abuse, and other bad experiences can make you lose yourself. Divorce can be a new beginning to find yourself and start a new life. This parenting arrangement allows you to live your life without interference of your ex, and yet the children are able to maintain their relationship with both parents.
This parenting helps eliminate your way to communicate with the other parents. You don’t need to inform the other parent about child’s activities because they can get information from teachers, coaches, or even doctors.
4. Minimize Parental Alienation
Parallel parenting minimizes parental alienation as it allows the child to love each parent the way they are.
Unlike co-parenting method, with this arrangement, each parent doesn’t have control over the other’s parenting style or rules. It lets them be themselves and continue their parenting style.
However, it may cause some minor issues, especially in the beginning. Children need to adapt to each parent’s parenting style, which sometimes can be contradictive.
But as time goes by, the kids will be accustomed to the rules and style used by their mom and dad.
5. Healthier for Children
Parents’ divorce can make the children feel so bad. They might fear of future and they start to worry about losing a parent. Parallel parenting is healthier for children as it allows them to maintain good relationship with parents.
Even though things are a bit different, they can spend quality time with mom and dad without having to stand in the middle and choose one side.
Besides, the children can have equal time with both parents despite the issues the parents might have. They can adapt with the rules and parenting style and eventually they can cope with a divorce.
6. Healthier for Parents
It makes no surprise that parallel arrangement is healthier for parents. It allows you to break you dependency and deal with anger, hatred, and anxiety. Parents can stop invalidating the other parent and focus on their time with the children.
Disadvantage of Parallel Parenting
Despite parallel parenting is said to be the healthiest arrangement for parents’ unfriendly relationship, there are some issues that may appear.
- One parent speaks negatively about another parent in front of the children
- The parent uses their children to communicate with other parents
- Monitoring children’s time during one’s parenting time
- One parent being decisive regarding child-related matters.
How to develop parallel parenting? You might need to go to court and have the judge arrange a parenting plan based on your ex’s arguments and also yours.
Parallel Parenting Plans
To make parallel parenting works, it’s necessary to create a plan. As you don’t want to have intense communication with your ex, of course, you can have the judge develop the plan for you. Go through family court and have all arrangements for the parenting.
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It’s necessary to make a plan that is straightforward and precise so that you can avoid communication with the other parent. How to create a plan that benefits all? There are several tips that can be taken into consideration, just keep scrolling!
1. Consider How You Split Time
A parallel parenting plan must contain specific information about time division. It should clearly state which days the children will be with you and which days they will be with the other parent.
It may also include special days like holidays, birthdays, and vacations. The clearer it is, the better. Thus, you can avoid as much communication with the ex.
2. Determine Start Time and End Time
To prevent misunderstanding and confusion in the future, it’s highly recommended to include pick-up and drop-off times for mom and dad.
For instance, mom may have the kids starting at Sunday night at 8 p.m. to Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. and dad may have the kids starting at Friday afternoon at 5 p.m. through Sunday night at 8 p.m.
Once the specific time is determined, you might need to inform kids’ school or teacher so that they understand the division.
Thus when one parent doesn’t show up at his time, the teacher knows what to do. It helps avoid unwanted experiences like children being left at school or at a friend’s house.
3. Mention the Location for Pick-Ups and Drop-Offs
As the parallel parenting plan must be as clear as possible, it’s crucial to establish the location both for pick-ups and drop-offs. This is how you can achieve the goal of the plan—minimize as much communication between parents.
How to choose a location? Consider a neutral place like a parking lot between homes, in which the children can move from one car to another. But some parents choose to pick up and drop off the kids in the other parent’s front yard.
In some cases, the hostility level is so extreme that parents don’t want to see each other at all. Alternatively, you may need to ask someone to shuttle the kids—choose a friend or relative that you can trust to take this responsibility.
4. Discuss about Cancellations
There will be time when your ex has another schedule so parenting time needs to be cancelled.
That’s why you need a second option when it occurs. Discuss cancellation on your parallel parenting plan and outline some options to handle the situation.
Make it as clear as possible if the other parent is allowed to make up his time or not. If so, the plan should mention when he is able to get make it up. For instance, this parent might get extra vacation with the kids.
5. Make a Plan to Deal with Dispute
No matter how hard you try, some dispute may occur whether it’s minor or major. It’s more likely to occur when one parent is difficult and abusive.
If you believe that it will happen in your parenting arrangement, it’s crucial to make a plan to handle a dispute. You may ask the court to get a mediator so that you don’t have to argue back and forth.
When the dispute really happens, contact your mediator and avoid direct communication with your ex. Thus, conflict can be minimized and you can focus on solving the problem.
Those are useful tips to create a parallel parenting plan. Family courts in your area might have a different template but the point remains similar.
It helps you establish parenting arrangements and minimize communication between parents.
Do you ever wonder the secrets of successful parallel arrangement? Despite this strategy is the safest and healthiest for both sides, some parents can’t make it.
Whether it’s caused by inconsistency or an inability to control emotions, an unsuccessful arrangement will make the situation worse.
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How to Make Succesful Parallel Parenting
There are three main points to consider when you are having parallel parenting. When you keep these points in mind, you’ll be able to achieve successful parenting. Take a closer look at the following secrets.
1. Maintain Unemotional and Business-Like Communication
It might be rather hard to keep yourself cool when communicating with an ex, especially when he is difficult. But if you covet to achieve the goal, there’s no other option than creating unemotional communication.
Make it brief, concise, and informative. Tell only important information and don’t be rude.
2. Take Advantage of Online Parenting App
Plenty of online parenting apps are available on the internet. You can take advantages of those apps for online scheduling or information sharing.
The app keeps communication safe and structured so that you won’t feel hurt. These apps maintain professional communication to minimize conflict between parents.
3. Consider Conflicts as Life Lessons
The last but not least, you may consider the conflicts as life lessons. If you have an abusive ex, help your children to learn how to deal with difficult situations.
Some people may never change, so invalidating your ex will be a waste of time. You can focus on helping the children to struggle with their difficult parent.
Overall, parallel parenting offers a solution for parents with hostile relationships. This parenting arrangement is considered healthier than co-parenting as children don’t have to see a lot of conflicts between parents. However, there may be some shortages that come with this strategy so you’ve got to focus on helping the children to struggle with the divorce and difficult situation.