Divorced parents face a unique challenge everyday. They have to find a way to be good parents, co-exist, but also move on into a different stage in their life. Because co-parenting after divorce is so difficult, people are trying to reinvent how to do it every day. The newest term we’ve stumbled across? Parallel parenting. Parallel parenting is a little bit different than co-parenting in how it’s done and how the communication takes place. So we’re going to explain it to you, and how it differs from co-parenting.
Parallel Parenting versus Co-Parenting
Co-parenting refers to…
Both parents taking equal responsibility, co-exist peacefully with each other in terms of their children, and communicate as long as necessary when it comes to the kids. Communication is the main key when it comes to co-parenting in a healthy way. But, co-parenting is tough. You have to actively engage with your former spouse. You have to be patient, courteous, and kind until your child reaches an age where they can stand alone.
So, what is parallel parenting?
It’s kind of similar, but not quite. Parallel parenting is a better fit to a set of parents that do not get along so well. This type of arrangement keeps direct contact to a minimum, and lets the parents disengage from each other. Parallel parenting is business-like, and written agreement based. Changes to the schedule are made in writing, personal conversation is off-limits, and the children are the messengers. In short, you are merely parents to the same child and share no acquaintance.
Is one better than the other?
Ultimately, there’s no right answer. If you can co-parent peacefully, I highly suggest it. It shows your child that even though you are separating, that you two can co-exist maturely as adults. It shows your children despite the divorce and your personal feelings, you can be healthy partners in raising a child.
But, on the other hand, say in a situation where one has cheated on the other— a parallel agreement might be the only way, and that is completely understandable. While your children are a priority, so are your emotions. And no one will blame you for having to completely detach from that person in every way possible.
As we said, there’s no easy answer as every divorce and situation is different. You have to make a decision that honors the well-being of the child, as well as yourselves.