In an ideal world, every divorced or separate couple would put their differences aside and make great efforts to effectively co-parent their children. Unfortunately, the world is quite far from ideal. Some parents are narcissistic or vengeful. Some are abusive. In either case, the healthy parent is hindered in their co-parenting efforts, and the child may suffer. Parallel parenting may be a solution to these difficult situations. 

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting requires each parent to focus on their own interactions with the child. You do not concern yourself with the rules at your ex’s house. You let go of concerns over diet, bedtimes, and discipline (unless there is abuse, in which case you are encouraged to talk to an attorney about your options). In short, you do you and allow the other parent to do the same.

While it may seem strange to let go of what happens when your child is away, odds are, the other parent also wants what is best for the child. They may not make the same decisions that you would, and their rules may be different, but that does not necessarily make them wrong. 

The Potential Benefits of Parallel Parenting 

Parents typically opt for parallel parenting in high conflict divorces, as it is often considered the most effective model for minimizing strife. That is because you and your ex do not have to communicate unless there is an emergent or critical situation involving the child (i.e. illness, injury, education, etc.). 

Minimized communication often means less arguing, which could mean less stress for you. This gives you more time and energy to focus on building a new life. With lower stress levels and fewer arguments within the family unit, children also tend to benefit from parallel parenting. They may be less anxious about the changes and more focused on enjoying the time they have with each parent. As a result, their odds of developing maladjustment issues are reduced. 

The Potential Disadvantages of Parallel Parenting

Like all things, parallel parenting has some drawbacks. Perhaps the most annoying to parents is the lack of consistency between homes. Clearly, there are reasons why this can be problematic (child may struggle to fall asleep at bedtime, poor diet at the other parent’s house, etc.). However, most of these issues are not permanent. In fact, some may start to diminish naturally. 

Another common issue is that parallel parenting plans may need to be revisited and altered as the child grows and life changes. However, such changes may be necessary, regardless of the parenting model you decide to use in your divorce. 

Making Parallel Parenting Work – Contact Our Wheaton Family Law Attorneys 

Making any parenting plan work can be difficult, but in a parallel parenting plan, there is always the risk of issues, due to the lack of communication. Clear and firm boundaries should be set. Get insight, advice, and skilled guidance by contacting Davi Law Group, LLC. Our seasoned DuPage County divorce attorneys will work hard to protect your child’s future and interests. Call 630-580-6373 for a personalized consultation. 

Sources:

Parallel Parenting: What To Do When Co-Parenting Doesn’t Work

Parallel Parenting: When Co-Parenting With An Unreasonable Ex Doesn’t Work

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