Updated: Feb 10
Parallel parenting has a good chance of functioning and protecting your children from conflict provided everyone stays in their own lane. Parallel parenting does not work if parties feels entitled to control your parenting. Parallel parenting will not eliminate bullying and abuse of power by a coparent who is not capable or has no desire to relinquishing control. It will not eliminate harm to children in the face of abusive parenting practices.
In these situations, you need professional help. Do your research and find a professional well versed in family and domestic violence including bullying and control dynamics. Not all abuse is physical, nor does it need to be to create a tremendous amount of damage in the little lives that parallel parenting is designed to protect.
Regardless of your parenting schedule or timeshare, coparenting has a style. If cooperative coparenting isn’t in the cards, you will likely find a parallel parenting style is needed. Parallel parenting is designed to disengage parents thereby protecting vulnerable little hearts from undue conflict. Parallel parenting works much like a train track. Each parent actively parents on independent rails with limited points of communication across the ties, and only when necessary.
Research lends support for parallel parenting in terms of its utility in protecting children from conflict, but that does not mean it is free from challenges and isn’t always the magic it is sometimes purported to be, in particular in high conflict dynamics.
Glenda Lux, M.A., R. Psych.