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What is parallel parenting and is it right for your child?

On Behalf of | Dec 6, 2023 | Child Custody |

In an ideal world, you and your child’s other parent would be able to effectively co-parent so that you raise your children with a shared vision. While this type co-parenting relationship is often contemplated in initial custody orders, whether negotiated or litigated, the truth is that in many instances these co-parenting relationships fail. Either the parents can’t effectively communicate with each other, or they simply disagree over how to raise their kid.

There are resources and guides out there to help you navigate the challenges associated with co-parenting, but you don’t have to keep trying to make co-parenting work if it seems impossible to remedy the issues before you. Instead, you and your child’s other parent might want to think about pursuing parallel parenting.

What’s parallel parenting?

Whereas co-parenting focuses on raising your child in a consistent fashion despite sharing the child amongst two households, parallel parenting recognizes that each parent is going to raise their child as they see fit. This means that each parent will decide how they want to care for the child when they’re in that parent’s care.

The advantages of parallel parenting

For some, parallel parenting offers a wide array of advantages. This includes:

  • Reducing conflict: Given that you won’t have to coordinate every aspect of your child’s life with the other parent, the amount of communication between you and that parent will be reduced. As a result, you won’t find yourself bickering with the other parent over even the smallest of parenting issues.
  • Providing flexibility: As a parent, you sometimes have to change your approach to discipline, extracurricular activities, schooling, and religion. Through parallel parenting, you have a little more flexibility to make those changes without having to first get approval from the other parent. Just keep in mind that there are some bigger issues, such as schooling and medical care, that will likely require communication with the other parent.
  • Increasing sense of security: Through parallel parenting, your child will sense that you’re portraying yourself as you are rather than trying to force yourself into a mold that doesn’t fit. This means that your child will know what to expect when spending time with you, thereby giving them a greater sense of security. This, in turn, could build your bond with them.

The disadvantages of parallel parenting

Although parallel parenting can be enticing, it isn’t for everyone. Here are some of the disadvantages of taking this approach to raising your children:

  • Risk of instability: Some kids need routine between both households to be stable and successful. Parallel parenting can threaten that sense of consistency that these children need.
  • Feelings of lack of control: Even though parallel parenting can provide flexibility, it also reduces the amount of control you have over your child’s upbringing given that the other parent will call the shots when your child is in their care.
  • Lack of information: Your child might be raised in a vastly different way when in their other parent’s care. As a result, you might not be kept fully informed as to what’s occurring in that household, which can lead to feeling of disconnectedness.

Find an arrangement that supports your child’s best interests

There are several ways to approach a child custody dispute. To lock in the arrangement that you think is best for your child and your relationship with them, you might need to take legal action in the form of a child custody modification. If that’s the case, then now is the time to start gathering evidence to support your position and start crafting the legal arguments that best position you for success.