Shared parenting with your ex can be a stressful prospect, especially after a high conflict divorce. If there is lingering hostility and the two of you are not on speaking terms, parallel parenting might be a good solution. Parallel parenting is shared parenting with no direct communication between the two parents–all communication is done indirectly.
Since there is no direct communication, it’s a way to put the needs of your kids first by shielding them–and yourself–from potential conflict and animosity. Parallel parenting allows parents to disengage from each other and break the patterns of ineffective communication that may have carried over from the marriage.
With parallel parenting, both parents are involved in the lives of their children, but the daily decisions happen separately, in two separate households. Each parent takes charge of the time they have with the children individually and parents the kids in their own way.
A successful parallel parenting plan, established during the divorce proceedings, will set clear boundaries and may include terms like:
- Communication is limited to email or a parenting notebook and will only include information pertaining to the children.
- A firm parenting schedule is established and followed.
- Any direct communication happens through a third party.
- Children are not the messengers for information between parents.
- Child exchanges are handled on neutral ground.
- A process is identified to address bigger decisions like those regarding medical or educational needs.
This approach allows you to get past the conflict and animosity while putting the needs and wellbeing of the kids first. Parallel parenting can be a way around the resentment and anger by minimizing the parental contact.