Co-parenting, although ideal, can be very difficult to maintain during such an emotionally charged time. Emotions can still run high even after a divorce is final so using a parallel parenting plan can help each party keep their feelings in check and not project them onto their children. Listed are a few guidelines for both parties to follow when parallel parenting.
- Conduct all communication in a formal setting. Use emails or texting to communicate and only about subjects relating to your children. Minimal face to face communication reduces the risk of an argument taking place in front of the kids. When you do have to talk in person (like at a school or sporting event) remain business-like and cordial.
- “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all”. This is most true after a divorce. Keep your feelings about your ex-spouse to yourself; do not project your feelings about your spouse onto your children and avoid speaking ill of your ex in front of or near your children. They can hear you even at times when you don’t think that they can. Divorces are difficult for children, sometimes more so, and hearing bad things about someone they love can make it harder.
- Do not use your children to communicate messages to your ex or as a source for information. If your ex has started dating or made a large purchase, don’t ask for details from your child and don’t ask your child to inform your ex-spouse about a change in an upcoming sporting event.
- Schedules should list with whom the child will be with on which days, school events, and extracurricular activities and should be in writing or shared via electronic calendar.
- Any changes that need to be made to the regular visitation schedule should be done in writing.
Source: Divorce Magazine, “What is the difference between co-parenting and parallel parenting?”, accessed Dec 4, 2016