Parallel Parenting vs. Co-Parenting

As divorce has become more and more common, still hovering around 50% according to national averages, the term "co-parenting" has worked it's way into today's urban dictionary. Where co-parenting may be a more common term now, one that you may not be as familiar with is parallel parenting. 

What is Co-Parenting?

Co-parenting describes a parenting situation where the parents are not in a marriage, cohabitation, or romantic relationship with one another. In the United States, co-parenting often describes a parenting situation in which two separated or divorced parents take care of their children.

The term 'co-parent' may also be used to describe a situation where, following divorce or separation, the child's parents seek to maintain equal or equivalent responsibility for the child's upbringing. In principle, it states that a child has always and in any case the right to maintain a stable relationship with both parents, even if they are separated or divorced, unless there is a recognized need to separate him/her from one or both parents. 

How is Parallel Parenting Different?

Well, parallel parenting is primarily different in terms of communication. Where communication is difficult, bordering impossible, some separated and divorced couples opt for this style of parenting.

Girl Leaving Home For School With Father

The key elements of parallel parenting include a more business-like approach to scheduling and parenting. There is no personal communication, no changes in schedule without written consent, and scheduling is done through a shared calendar. This style of parenting minimizes potential arguments and heated exchanges. While this style of parenting may be interpreted as "cold" it may be in the child's best interest to reduce loyalty conflicts, especially if the divorce is not a particularly amicable one. 

If you find that you need assistance in defining boundaries and navigation co-parenting in a cooperative fashion, The Relationship Center of Colorado can provide the guidance you seek. Contact us today for a free consultation!