When a marriage ends, a couple’s hurt and disdain towards each other don’t just magically disappear overnight. So, when it comes raising your kids in harmony together after a high conflict separation or divorce – otherwise known as co-parenting – what do you do if you and your ex can’t set aside your differences? Fortunately, there is more than one parenting plan available for divorced parents.

What is parallel parenting?

Unlike with co-parenting, exes who follow a parallel parenting plan will have very limited contact with each other. While they will communicate to consult one another about their child on a basic level, essentially, both parents will have separate lives and parenting styles that run parallel to each other but never intersect.

While co-parenting offers children the benefit of consistency across both parents’ households and more structure, sometimes co-parenting peacefully with an ex-spouse simply isn’t an option.

What are the benefits of parallel parenting?

If rising above past resentments towards an ex-spouse isn’t feasible or you have differing opinions on house rules or child-rearing, parallel parenting might be in the best interests of you and your children. Some benefits that parallel parenting offers to families include:

  • Reducing conflict with your ex: When you limit your interactions with a difficult ex, it usually means there are less opportunities for conflicts to arise. It can be harmful for your child to witness high conflict during and after a divorce. With parallel parenting, you can ensure you don’t make your kids feel as though they must choose sides.
  • Honoring individual parenting styles: After a divorce, some ex-couples have great difficulty agreeing on things such as education, discipline, house rules, religion or overall parenting styles. However, with parallel parenting, you don’t have to compromise over how you raise your child in your home.
  • Create a conflict-free environment: In some instances, parallel parenting is the best way to reduce stress and anxiety in children. By limiting in-person interactions with your ex, you can provide a more peaceful and supportive environment for your child to thrive.

Whether you are on peaceful terms with your ex or mortal enemies, raising a child together after divorce will always come with unique challenges. Fortunately, by finding the right parenting plan, you can help your child adjust to their new way of life.