These days, it doesn’t seem that unusual to see divorced parents working together amicably to rear their children. We might see these parents chatting at a child’s soccer game, meeting with teachers together or even spending time together on a family vacation.

While this may seem like an ideal situation, it simply is not realistic for many parents. But rather than assume you must be partners to parent successfully, you should familiarize yourself with the parallel parenting approach.

What is parallel parenting?

As this article from Psychology Today explains, parallel parenting is an approach where moms and dads disengage from each other but remain independently committed to their children.

In a parallel parenting situation, parents typically do not spend time together or communicate with each other, unless necessary. They may still make important decisions together in accordance with a custody order, or they may assign domains to each parent to completely avoid situations that would require cooperation in decision-making.

Benefits of parallel parenting

One of the primary benefits of a parallel parenting structure is conflict avoidance. Parents who are likely to fight or disagree can find that minimizing communication and interaction can decrease the opportunity for fighting. This makes it easier for each parent to focus on their individual relationship with their child and not on the other parent.

With the time and space afforded to each person by this arrangement, the pain, resentment and anger parents may have once felt about each other may subside. If this happens, it could be possible for parents to eventually be more cooperative and spend more time around each other.

Making parallel parenting work

If parallel parenting sounds like a solution you’d like you pursue, then you would be wise to set the stage right away in your parenting plan. For instance, you might include detailed guidance on decision-making guidelines and set strict boundaries regarding parental communication and interaction.

Whether you parent cooperatively or independently, remember that the focus should be on being the best parent you can be for your child.