If you are in a high conflict divorce battle and you share children with your ex, co-parenting becomes a nightmare. A narcissistic ex can use the children as pawns in their mission to abuse you. The beauty of parallel parenting is that it allows you to minimize contact with your ex. While this helps alleviate conflict, there are a few tricks for parallel parenting that will really make it work.
What is Parallel Parenting?
Parallel parenting is a form of joint custody that may be recommended when the parents’ relationship is too conflicted for them to share decision-making with one another. Instead of each parent sharing decision-making for their child in every domain (as in a traditional joint custody arrangement), in a parallel parenting regime, parents assume full decision-making responsibility in different domains. For example, one parent may have decision making for education and another parent for health.
The other focus of parallel parenting is to minimize communication between parents in attempt to reduce the conflict. Communication is only when necessary, child-centred, and often on a designated forum such as Our Family Wizard or Talking Parents. Drop-offs and pick-ups are often in a neutral location and may be facilitated by a third party. The parents do not attend the child’s events such as parent teacher conferences together.
Tricks for Parallel Parenting
- Radical acceptance – Your child is going to have different parenting experiences in different houses. You can decide to believe that this is perfectly fine. The bedtime routine will be different. Meal schedule will be different. If you think that your child can adapt, they will think so too. You don’t have to import any drama into the fact that your ex does things differently. It was that way during the relationship and it is that way now.
- Release the need to control your ex – You guys know what I am talking about. You couldn’t control your ex during the relationship and you sure can’t now! Stop being disappointed by your ex’s parenting. As long as your kids are safe and have the necessities – let your ex be your ex. For those who need a bit more on this, I call it dropping your Manual for your ex and you can read all about it here.
- You are not responsible for your ex’s relationship with the kids – Seeing as you have no control over how your ex behaves with the kids, you get to relinquish control of your child’s experience with your ex. Let go of your expectations for your ex’s relationship with your children. It will be a relief to no longer have to take responsibility for that relationship. Your only responsibility is your own relationship with the children and how you show up for your children.