Co-parenting is the practice of rearing a child with a person you are no longer married to. It entails making decisions together to ensure the best interests of your child are a priority. For some former spouses, co-parenting is not a suitable option. This is often the case in contentious divorces, where both parties are not able to agree on much of anything.
According to Healthline, parallel parenting is the better option for these couples. With parallel parenting, each parent maintains a separate parenting approach from the other. While communication is necessary sometimes, it is very limited. Here are a few tips on developing a reasonable parallel parenting relationship with your ex.
Establish detailed visitation schedules
In addition to deciding on visitation days, you should also establish some ground rules for pickup and drop-off times. Having a pre-established time prevents confusion and ensures both parties satisfaction. If you do not feel comfortable having your ex come to your home or going to theirs, choose a neutral, public location, such as a parking lot.
Develop a cancellation approach
You should always try to stick to the agreed-upon schedule unless a change in the situation warrants an update. However, including a process for dealing with cancellations is crucial to prevent unnecessary conflict. Include the preferred mode of contact for the cancellation, such as phone call or text. Decide whether the canceling parent can make up the visit, or they must wait until the next one. If cancellation is an ongoing occurrence, you can also take the matter back to court.
Avoid disputes when possible
One of the key features of parallel parenting is that each parent is free to raise their child as they see fit. That means you must accept your ex’s parenting style, provided it does not put your child in harm’s way. If you disagree with their decision-making process, you can broach the subject reasonably using the preferred method of contact. If your ex is unwilling to compromise and the issue is not of dire importance, it is best to just let it go.
While it is ideal to form a cohesive parenting unit with your ex, it is even more important that conflict remains low between you. This decreases stress on your child and also alleviates heated debates related to child-rearing topics.