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  • Writer's pictureAngela Larimer

What Is Parallel Parenting?

To learn more about parallel parenting in Chicago, Illinois, contact Family Law attorney Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600.

Parallel parenting is an approach that enables divorced parents to avoid conflict by minimizing interactions while staying actively involved in their children’s lives. This parenting approach is effective in high-conflict separations, where parents may require some time for wounds to heal or resentment to fade before interacting with each other regularly. Parents who would like to know more about parallel parenting in Illinois can contact family law attorney Angela Larimer at 773-370-0600.

How Is Parallel Parenting Different from Co-Parenting?

In a traditional co-parenting arrangement, divorced parents are able to communicate with each other and make important decisions about their children with minimal conflict. Co-parenting can only be successful when parents can put the well-being of their children above their own issues and interact in a respectful manner. For some divorced parents, however, this type of co-parenting isn’t a workable option.

For parents who are unable to interact with each other without exposing their children to conflict, establishing a parallel parenting arrangement could be the answer. In a parallel parenting model, divorced parents are disengaged with each other but continue to enjoy building strong relationships with their children. While parents will still need to communicate with each other when making important decisions about their children, the interaction between the ex-spouses is minimized. 

Benefits of Parallel Parenting 

While parallel parenting might not be a permanent solution, it has several benefits for high-conflict couples who must allow the dust to settle before embracing co-parenting. The following are three key benefits of parallel parenting:

Preserves Child-Parent Relationship

Parallel parenting enables both parents to maintain strong relationships with their children without having to communicate as frequently with their ex-spouse. Studies show that children who are able to maintain close relationships with both parents have a better sense of self and security and are more psychologically adjusted.

Protects Children from Parental Conflict and Animosity

A 2015 study revealed that children constantly exposed to parental conflict and co-parenting difficulties had a high risk of developing issues with loneliness, emotional reactivity, intimacy, and depression. Unique parenting plans that implement a parallel parenting style can minimize in-person parental interactions and can prevent children’s exposure to parental disputes and animosity. 

Minimizes Stress 

Parents going through a difficult divorce should think about their own personal well-being. Seeing and talking to an ex-spouse can bring feelings of anger, grief, anxiety, or stress. By embracing a parallel parenting approach, divorced parents can minimize these negative feelings in their own lives and embrace the opportunity to focus on their new lifestyles and the relationships they have with their children. 

Giving Parallel Parenting a Shot 

When a couple faces a difficult parenting situation and wants to try a method that is proven to be effective, parallel parenting may be the remedy. This parenting style allows parents the opportunity to avoid unnecessary contact with their ex-spouse. A highly skilled family law attorney can help divorced parents create a parallel parenting agreement that is in their family’s best interests. The attorney can set up a parenting plan that provides solid resolutions when traditional co-parenting has previously proven to be difficult. 

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