Forcing yourself to interact with someone you no longer want to be in a relationship with is a challenge and for some, it’s just too much to handle. Thinking of coordinating drop off times, making shared decisions, or even just speaking cordially to one another seems like a dreadful task. Trust me, I went down this road.
When I finally decided to get a divorce, I could no longer even look at my husband without getting upset. He just knew how to push all my buttons and make me so angry I could feel the rage. We couldn’t even have a normal conversation without us yelling at each other. How was I supposed to raise a child with a man that I couldn’t even look at, much less talk to?
The final straw was turning around and seeing my daughter crying in the corner because mommy and daddy were fighting again. This wasn’t healthy and we shouldn’t put our daughter through this. She deserved better.
Later that day, I found an article on Parallel Parenting instead of co-parenting. This was it! This was the only way I could raise my daughter with my soon to be ex. And believe it or not, this was the one time we actually agreed on something. We agreed to disengage and have limited contact with one another, for the sake of our daughter.
This was how we made it work.
- We communicated in a business-like fashion. I talked to him the same way I would talk to my co-workers and vice versa.
- We never used our child as a messenger, if we needed to communicate, we did so via text or email amongst the two of us, never getting our daughter involved.
- We didn’t share personal information.
- We didn’t make any changes to the schedule without written documentation from both of us.
- We wrote down our schedules, leaving nothing up for interpretation.
- We had little to no contact with one another.
- We didn’t tell one another how they should parent. We co-parented independently.
- We communicated via written communication when there was an important manner. Sometimes we got a mediator involved.
- We didn’t call one another, only text or email.
- He picked our daughter up from school on Fridays, had her through the weekend, then dropped her off at school on Monday morning. I would then drop her off and pick her up from school during the week. This way we didn’t have to see one another.
There are many other scenarios to making parallel parenting work or if this is even the best route for you to take. This is just what worked for my family. Eventually, we were able to get to a place where we could communicate better and started to be more involved, for the sake of our daughter. She really liked when she was able to see us talk in person without fighting or being hostile. It took a long way to get to that point and some people never do, but it was well worth the struggles to see a smile on my daughters face.
Parallel parenting may seem like a negative way to parent, but in truth, it can be the healthiest option for a child when the parents are unable to work together in a healthy manner. Especially when the situation becomes hostile. The key to success in raising children in a parallel parenting situation is to ensure the focus remains on the child and their best interests, not on the parents and their feelings. In allowing your child to see that you are both able to be cordial, the child will no longer feel the stress and fear of being stuck in the middle between two hostile parents. Consider reaching out to a professional to see if Parallel Parenting would be the best option for you and your family.