What Is Parallel Parenting and Is It Right for Your Family?

Marie Miguel, (2021, September 20). What Is Parallel Parenting and Is It Right for Your Family?. Psychreg on Parenting. https://www.psychreg.org/what-parallel-parenting/

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The modern family unit is more nuanced and unique than ever; fortunately, alternative parenting options exist for couples who want their children to be well taken care of even after the relationship has ended. 

A child’s bond with their parents often means the world to them. So, as a responsible individual, you may want to ensure that both you and your spouse are still in their lives. 

During this time, you can find ways to forge your own parenting path, but the most pressing question may be how to involve both you and your ex in your kid’s life. A potential solution may lie within parallel parenting. 

In this article, we’ll unpack everything there is to know about parallel parenting: what it is, what it looks like, and how to decide if its techniques are a good fit your family.

For more information on parenting, parenting styles, and maintaining a good relationship with your children, be sure to check out the following link: https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/parenting/why-are-parenting-classes-so-important/ 

What is parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting refers to limiting the number of interactions between a partner and their spouse so that both parties can reduce the chances of fighting in front of their children. 

This type of style is helpful for parents who have a difficult time getting along, due to issues in the past or not being able to forgive the other for their actions.

Parallel parenting allows both parents to be involved in a child’s life without having to come into frequent contact with one another. It may or may not involve in-person visits or splitting a child’s time between households; parallel parenting is adaptable and can fit many living arrangements.

How is it different from co-parenting?    

Co-parenting involves both parents being there for their child at the same time, generally  appearing friendly on the surface for their children’s sake. Co-parenting involves a much higher level of communication and teamwork between both parents.

The difference is subtle, but important. For example, a co-parenting team might both attend a child’s basketball game for moral support. A parallel parenting team may take turns attending games to avoid seeing each other (but still prioritise supporting their child).

Sometimes, parents in co-parenting scenarios may want their child to pick a side, which can have a negative impact on their kid’s mental health. Parallel parenting may be a better fit in these sorts of situations, as it allows both parents to exist independently of one another.

What are the benefits of parallel parenting?

The benefits of parallel parenting may help foster a healthy life for your kid as both parents try to involve themselves in some way with their family’s life. 

  • Preventing conflict in front of kids
  • Children feeling more safe, secure when understanding their parents’ separation
  • Parents letting their feelings for one another cool down, potentially opening the door to co-parenting in the future

Also, parallel parenting grants children the chance to develop a relationship with both of their parents. From the parents’ perspective, they can help their kids through life while reducing contact with their ex, resulting in a long-lasting relationship with their children. 

Is parallel parenting right for your family?

Understanding the benefits of parallel parenting and its difference between co-parenting may help you in understanding if it is right for your family. 

Here are a few steps that you may take if you decide to try out parallel parenting:

  • Determine how you’ll split the time with the kids. You may start by creating a plan with your ex about when your child will visit one parent, how long they have to spend with them, and when they will leave. 
  • Establish neutral pick-up and drop-off locations. Once you need to drop off your kid with your ex, choose a location where your children can easily enter their other parent’s care while minimising as much contact as possible between the two of you. 
  • Think ahead on how you plan on handling disputes. You may consider hiring a mediator, either by asking the court or using other resources, to help keep things civil between you and your spouse if something goes awry with your children. 

Where to go from here

When it comes down to it, only you and your partner can decide if parallel parenting is truly right for your family. 

Some couples may begin with parallel parenting, and after their feelings and emotions simmered, may consider co-parenting. Others may only stick with parallel parenting. 

No matter what, choose a style that not only makes you feel comfortable but one that will benefit your children in the long run.


Marie Miguel is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com.


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