Parallel parenting as a solution for toxic co-parenting

Like any parent in Pennsylvania, you want what is best for your children. While your intentions are there, putting these thoughts into action is not always easily accomplished. A divorce can significantly muddy the water between parents, making it challenging for you are your former spouse to function as a team for your children. There is often pressure placed on positive co-parenting during and following a divorce, making it even more stressful and emotional for you when you discover you just cannot co-parent with your ex.

When co-parenting is not a viable option due to high conflict or other issues arising from the marital problems, it is important to understand that there are other options available. Parallel parenting may be the solution when co-parenting has proven to be impossible. In simple terms, this parenting approach puts each parent in the driver’s seat. This means that a parent does not need to consult with the other parent with every parenting move they make.

Parallel parenting reduces conflict by causing less need for communication or the need for agreement before any parenting action is taken. But does this alternative approach work? When parents cannot get along or have found themselves in a toxic situation, parallel parenting reduces conflict, creating a better situation for the children. While each parent is able to parent how they see fit when the children are with them, this does not negate the need for agreement on big picture items. This includes education, discipline and emotional and physical safety.

Co-parenting relies on each parent’s ability to consult and communicate effectively with the other parent. When that is not present or even possible, a workable solution needs to be devised in order to create a healthy environment for the children. In some cases, parallel parenting may only be a temporary option. Once the dust settle and one cools off from the emotions and conflicts arising from the divorce process, divorced parents may find that co-parenting may be a realistic option.

Whether you look at it as a long-term or temporary option, parallel parenting may be the best option for you during and after the divorce process. When emotions are running high and both you and your children are dealing with many changes, it is important to determine what is best for you when it comes to a successful custody arrangement. Keeping the best interests of the children as a focal point is necessary when navigating this time; however, it can be difficult to ascertain what that looks like. This is why it is also important to note your legal rights and options as well.

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