No matter how amicable a divorce may be, it is likely that some level of friction existed in the marriage. However, in very high-conflict divorces, the idea of co-parenting with your ex-spouse may seem like an impossibility.This is particularly true if your ex-spouse is a narcissist or has other personality disorders.
If you end up in a joint custody situation with a narcissist or you simply cannot stand to be around your ex-spouse, there is a way to productively continue to parent with him or her. Many high-conflict divorce families turn to parallel parenting after divorce to help make their family situation not just bearable, but productive.
How is this different from co-parenting?
Co-parenting usually involves both parents coming together to support the children publicly. For example, it is likely that parents in a co-parenting arrangement would attend a child’s dance recital together. They may also attend sporting events or graduation sitting near each other. Co-parents might decide to co-host their child’s birthday parties.
With parallel parenting, the parents are never in the same place at the same time. One parent might take the child to the dance recital, and the other parent might attend the post recital pizza party. They may decide to post two separate birthday parties or events for the child.
How is this helpful?
Parallel parenting is an effective way to ensure that the child has equal access to both parents. It also ensures that the parents have adequate space from each other to prevent further conflict. In turn, this helps shield the child from the conflict between the parents but allows the child beneficial relationships with both.