Updated: Feb 10, 2021
Sorry, but this is simply not true. Parallel parenting minimizes the need to communicate and often employs less direct methods of communication, such as email or co-parenting apps, but does not eliminate it. Even in the most air tight of parenting plans, situations will arise that require some form of communication. Examples include relaying the results of medical and dental appointments, certain time sensitive or prolonged homework projects, unforeseen calls from the school about behaviour or educational needs, medical emergencies, items of importance or immediate need that may have been forgotten at the other parent’s home, decisions about renting or buying the tuba your junior high schooler has become passionate about playing in band, family reunions, special occasions and funerals that don’t align neatly within the parenting schedule, the discovery of lice and need for continuation of treatment in the other parent’s home or lost library books that have migrated to the other parent’s home. In short, there are many unforeseen situations that simply cannot be planned for even in the most detailed parenting plan. When it comes to kids, there will always be a need to communicate to some degree even if you would prefer not to.
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.