What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel Parenting

Parallel parenting is a setting in which parents who are divorced are able to properly take care of their children by means of disengaging from one another and having limited access to each other.

When a relationship between two couples ends entirety bad, their dislike for each other won’t end immediately.

It may continue for a very long time in some cases. And this sometimes may result to shouting and quarreling at each other in the presence of their children which is not advisable at all.

Parallel parenting tends to reduce access to previously married parents especially in very hostile situations.

With parallel parenting tends to reduce the rate of issues amongst ex parents especially in the presence of their children as it drastically reduces the level of interactions between this kind of parents.

Parallel parenting gives room for parents who had married before to detached themselves from each other and then choose the most appropriate way they intend to care for their children.

How parallel parenting differs from co-parenting

Parallel patenting doesn’t refer to the same thing as co-parenting. In co-parenting the two ex parents are friendly and are able to relate properly with each other even when they know that their relationship is just on the surface. Co-parenting are able to come together with each other to raise their children in a healthy and conducive environment.

Co-parenting parents are able to set aside their differences. They hardly feel bad about one another and are able to stay settle issues in the presence of their children without nagging, fighting, or quarreling. 

Co-parenting parents can attend go for shopping together with their children without having any issues. They can also attend school meetings together.

But in the case of parallel parenting everything is often done separately. Parallel parenting parents for not attend school meetings together. They don’t engage in extracurricular activities with their children together.

Communication is rarely possible with parallel parenting parents and in most cases, communication occurs only when they are very vital issues to deal with.

Parallel parenting is always very advisable for parents coming out from emotionally abusive relationships. This is because it limits access to both ex parents to avoid unforeseen circumstances amongst both ex parents especially in the presence of their children.

Benefits of parallel parenting

Many people may think parallel parenting doesn’t have beneficial effects on the children as the two parents experience no good working relationship but this is purely not true as parallel parenting tends to reduce the level conflicts in the presence of the children.

Parallel parenting method can also assist in coping with divorce or separation instances. Other benefits include;

  • Reduced interference: parallel parenting offers a room for the two parents to choose a parenting style that suits them without the interference of the other parent. Here explanations are not always necessary on why they allow the kids behave in some certain ways. The responsibility of parenting is always from both sides since there’s no agreement on how to parent the kids. The consequences of what happens to the child is normally not attributed to a sole parent in this context.
  • Reduces stress: Divorced or separated parents are usually opting for the parallel kind of parenting. Parallel parenting is usually preferable to protect the child from conflicts that should have ordinarily occurred if the parents were co-parenting. It also reduces stress from both the children and the parents and ushers into a peaceful and loving environment.
  • Reduced level of interaction between the parents: parallel parenting reduces the level limits the level of commination between the two parents to the barest minimum. Important decisions are usually made and handled in a very matured manner and with a high-level civility thus not bringing the children into certain issues they shouldn’t have known. Parties and get together are normally celebrated with the kids by an individual parent and doesn’t require both parents coming together.
  • Allows for gradual healing: Parents who experienced a bitter end their marriage through divorce or separation usually find it very difficult to just let go. However, with the method of parallel parenting should grievances begin to reduce as the two parents rarely come in contact.

Ways to make a good parallel parenting plan

  • Decide how the time will be split with the children: It’s important to carefully determine where the children will be spending their weekends and weekdays. If they are with this parent during the weekdays they should be with the other parent during the weekend. The kids shouldn’t always spend all their time with one parent rather they should always spend quality time with the two parents and at different intervals. But this should always be carefully planned and agreed upon by the two parents to avoid conflicts.
  • Have a plan to mitigate disputes or conflicts: The idea of parallel parenting is always to reduce rocking conflicts which should have ordinarily occurred. A mediator from a court of law can always help in bringing solutions to problems of these nature to prevent the problems from escalating.
  • Have predetermined locations for pick-ups and drop offs: since the aim of parallel parenting  is to avoid communication between the two parents it will be totally wrong to either pick up the  or drop-off the children at a particular parents home. It is advisable to schedule a place or a parking lot for the pick-ups and drop off.
  • Determine how to handle cancellations: cancellations are always unavoidable, so it is necessary to always make provisions for cancellation incase they occur. Have a clear plan on how they are going to make it up for the time and they if they are willing to make it up.
  • Decide on the precise time the children get to spend with the parent: It the plan is detailed it drastically reduce the level of confusion and present no room for manipulation. This also include the exact pick ups and drop off times by both parents. Everything should be done simultaneously and there should be no bias from both sides.


  • Fabricius, Williams V., Sanford L. Braver, Priscilla Daiz, and Clorinda E. Velez. 2010 “Custody and Parenting Time: Links to Family and Well-being after divorce.”
  • Kelly, J. & Johnston, J. (2001). The Alienated Child: A Reformulation of Parental Alienation Syndrome. Family and Conciliation Court Review. 38, (3), 249-266
  • Wallerstein, J., Blakestee, S., and Lewis, J. (2000). Parallel Parenting Benefits and The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25-year Landmark study. New York: Hyperion.
  • Stahl, P. (2000). Parenting After Divorce. San Luis Obispo, CA: Impact publishers.
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