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Parallel Parenting: What is it and how does it differ from Co-Parenting?

The term 'co-parenting' is used as a general term for parents that raise their children from different homes, namely after separation or divorce. It is an umbrella term that encompasses many different styles of parenting.


One of those styles is Parallel Parenting.


After watching clients of mine successfully navigate the world of Parallel Parenting, I realized that there needs to be more attention placed on other styles available, so parents can fully appreciate their options.


Parallel Parenting is a practice that ensures the children of high conflict individuals are able to transition back and forth with minimal to no interaction by their parents, thereby reducing the instances of conflict.


In practice, what this looks like is using a third party or neutral location for transition days - school, day care, extra curricular locations etc. are excellent options.


One parent will drop the child(ren) off, and another parent will pick them up, limiting the potential run ins with the other parent. Logistically, there is often little to know communication as well. They attend different parent teacher conferences, they have information around health and well being relayed from professionals to the parents separately. Communication may go through a third party professional such as a Parenting Coordinator or Mediator, or in some instances, a trusted third party whom the parents both know to be neutral.


What this means is, if there are instances of abuse, for example, everyone can operate with a sense of safety and security. What this means is, the tension or anger or resentment is not felt by the child(ren). What this means is, high conflict parents are able to operate in a silo-ed fashion, focused on what is in the best interest of the child. What this means is, children can love and be happy with both parents regardless of how unhappy they are with each other.


In my personal opinion, if you cannot communicate positively with your co-parent, and act in a way in front of your child(ren) that does not create animosity or stress for them, than you owe it to your children to try another method of Co-Parenting.


Let me know what you think if you've tried Parallel Parenting!


Be well,

Alex




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