If you and your spouse can’t be in the same room without arguing, you may wonder how you can co-parent after the divorce. Despite your contentious relationship, you may still want your soon-to-be-ex involved in your children’s lives. Parallel parenting offers the benefits of both distance and shared custody.
According to Parenting Science Today, parallel parenting focuses on the welfare of the children. It allows each parent to actively participate in raising their child while remaining separated from each other.
Benefits of parallel parenting
Children are often affected the most in a divorce, and in high conflict situations, the negative impact can increase. Parallel parenting offers benefits to the entire family as it enables each parent to use their own parenting style without checking in with or explaining it to the other. This reduced interference can help smooth the transition from being a couple to living as separate people.
Even if your divorce includes high stress and conflict, parallel parenting doesn’t expose the children as direct communication and interaction between you and your ex is minimal. The majority of communication that does occur typically happens through email, which reduces emotional outbursts’ potential.
Tips for maintaining distance
If your ex has manipulative tendencies, dealing with them is often physically, mentally and emotionally draining. However, you can take steps that minimize the effect and allow you to thrive after your divorce.
- Accept you cannot change them and focus on your own choices and reactions
- Set boundaries and stick to them, which may mean not responding to email or text barrages
- Talk with your children in an age-appropriate way if your ex lies or bad-mouths you to them
- Disengage from the conflict and don’t take what your ex says personally
While these techniques work, they can take time and ongoing practice. The court focuses on the child’s best interests during custody arrangements. Keeping your distance both physically and emotionally can help you maintain custody and remove the conflict.