Parallel Parenting

Any sort of separation or divorce is painful for everyone involved, even when both parents have parted in an amicable nature. However, it can be even more difficult when your ex-partner is antagonistic or abusive. This will leave you with the question of how to successfully co-parent your children with an ex that you want to sever ties with completely and have no contact with yourself.

Rebuilding your life is the first step after a high conflict or abusive relationship, but this can be hard to achieve if you still need to have them in your life for the sake of your children. Therefore, it’s not so easy to completely cut ties altogether when your children need the love and support of both parents.

What to do in this situation will be one of the most important parenting decisions you will ever make.

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting is a parenting style wherein both parents going through a divorce or separation wish to continue legal and/or physical custody on a shared basis while also limiting contact or interaction with each other as much as possible. This is useful for divorced or separated parents who have been in a high-conflict relationship and don’t wish to communicate or interact with each other during parenting time.

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What is Parallel Parenting with a Narcissist?

Narcissism is a personality disorder that can lead to high conflict and emotionally abusive relationships. The reality of having to co-parent a child with an ex who is a narcissist can be very troubling for any parent.

Not only do you need to think about your own relationship with the narcissist, but you also need to make sure that these personality traits do not affect your child’s life in an unhealthy way during parenting situations.

If one parent is a narcissist, parallel parenting is often the best option. This approach limits interaction as much as possible in order to reduce any further emotional abuse, conflict, or manipulation. 

The key goal to focus on when dealing with a narcissistic ex- partner is creating clear parenting boundaries and a firm parenting plan which will protect both you and your child from any further emotional damage.

Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting

Either of these parenting plans has the potential for success and a healthy future.  Choosing the right option for you and your family will depend on the nature of the relationship between both parents – specifically, how much conflict exists between the two of you.

Co-parenting is possible when both parents are able to effectively communicate, resolve conflict, and maintain civil interactions on behalf of their children. 

In comparison, parallel parenting is the best option in high conflict situations when ex partners are unable to work together in a productive manner and need to maintain limited communication. It ensures the same level of care and attention for your children and makes sure that both parents can equally be involved in their lives while maintaining strict boundaries. 

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How Parallel Parenting Can Benefit My Family

The key focus of parallel parenting is to protect your children from unnecessary conflict and protect any parent who has been exposed to abuse or conflict from their ex. It can benefit your family by providing the highest level of care and support for your children while ensuring you don’t have to constantly communicate or interact with an ex who is prone to instigating conflict. It ensures a safe environment for all involved.

Creating Parallel Parenting Boundaries

Parallel parenting is the best option to protect you and your children from further emotional damage by putting clear boundaries in place. These boundaries can be formed through an expert-backed and detailed parenting plan that will account for everyone’s emotional needs.

This plan should protect you as a parent by creating boundaries that limit contact with an abusive or antagonistic ex while at the same time ensuring your children still have access to the support and care they need from both divorced parents through an agreed upon legal parenting plan.

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Parallel Parenting FAQs

A parenting method in which both parents work to provide care, love, and shared custody of their child while limiting contact and interaction with each other. This is often a good choice for those going through a separation with an abusive ex or a high-conflict relationship.

Narcissism is one example of emotional abuse you may have wanted to escape from during a separation. When shared custody of a child is involved, parallel parenting with a narcissist is limiting contact with your ex to avoid further conflict while also developing a firm parenting plan with boundaries to ensure you and your child are not still exposed to the emotional damage the narcissist can inflict.

This type of parenting plan can ensure that your child never has to forgo a happy upbringing and future when faced with two parents who struggle to communicate. Parallel parenting is a great option for setting boundaries and limiting interaction between two parents with a volatile relationship, ensuring your child isn’t exposed to unnecessarily conflict.

If both parents want shared custody of their child and both accept that the parenting relationship is too volatile for easy communication, then both parents will hopefully see the merits of and agree to a parallel l parenting arrangement.

Major decisions for your child’s upbringing and future should ideally be decided together. However, in high conflict situations this is not always possible. In parallel parenting, each of you will have realms of responsibility that you are solely in charge of (such as school, sports, medical). Then, each of you can make the important decisions that you oversee without needing to reach consensus with the other parent. .

You can contact us anytime to find out more about co-parenting and parallel parenting counseling.

Co-parenting is a great option for two parents who are able to communicate and can create a parenting plan together. Parallel parenting is an option for parents who wish to limit contact with each other as much as possible while still providing the same level of care to their children as co-parenting would.