There are many ways to parent a child. Sometimes this looks like two parents working together to raise a child in the same household. However, in other situations, this may look like each parent parenting the child in each of their households due to a divorce or a separation. Because child custody can look vastly different from one family to the next, it is important to consider certain factors when developing a parenting plan.
While there is a push for co-parenting for divorced and separated parents, this is not always feasible. Some matters may involve domestic violence, which could give cause to establish a sole custody situation. Others involve high conflict, making co-parenting a losing battle. Thus, it is important for parents in Texas and elsewhere to note the advantages and disadvantages of parallel parenting when compared to co-parenting arrangements.
While co-parenting focuses on communication and collaboration for the best interests of the child, parallel parenting essentially means parenting by disengaging. Looking at it another way, it is essentially an agree to disagree parenting situation. Each parent wants a relationship with the child, and they agree to let this relationship play out without interfering with it. In other words, each parent is fully connected to the child while disengaged from the other parent.
There are several reasons why co-parenting may not work, causing parallel parenting to be the best options. To begin, parents may get into conflicts frequently and cannot effectively communicate. Next, they don’t have a plan for working through issues. Parallel parenting tends to be well structured, so things can be communicated and resolved without little to no communication. For co-parenting to work, there must be mutual respect. This cannot always be accomplished no matter how much time is given after a split.
Co-parenting relies on effective and cooperative communication. When this cannot exist, parallel parenting is essentially the best option. Giving up control can be difficult for some parents, but for others, it can be liberating. Parallel parenting focuses just on the parenting of the parent when he or she has placement. Finally, because children change over time, a parenting arrangement must be flexible with that.