Co-parenting can be a nightmare if you had a particularly high conflict divorce or are having to parent with a narcissist. If you are finding it nearly impossible to co-parent with an ex, then it may be time to learn more about parallel parenting.
Parallel parenting is a form of parenting where you limit contact as much as possible and stop trying to coordinate parenting styles. The idea is that limited contact will help reduce the conflict and make your children feel safer. Here are some tips on how to parallel parent:
Limit communication to text or email.
You already know that you can barely have a conversation with your ex without a fight erupting, so communicate in person or on the phone as little as possible. When you have to communicate, do it by text or email so you will have better control over your own responses to your ex’s attempts to push your buttons.
Create and enforce communication rules.
Although narcissistic or high-conflict exes rarely respect boundaries, you still need to establish yours when it comes to communication. Use email or texting for logistics and if your ex is abusive no matter what form of communication you use, stop communicating.
Don’t respond to threats.
Your ex may threaten to withhold child support or take you back to court. Your response should be: talk to my attorney. This will require your ex to spend money on legal fees if he or she wants to carry out this threat. You’ll usually find these threats to be empty so don’t rise to the bait.
Avoid being together.
Do whatever you can to avoid being together — schedule separate parent-teacher conferences, don’t sit together at children’s school or other public events, and handle drop-offs in a way that you don’t have to meet your ex face-to-face.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
When parallel parenting, you are going to have to let go of what happens in the other parent’s home, whether it’s letting your kids eat ice cream for dinner or stay up late. Since you really have no control over your ex’s parenting style, let it go. Your child will learn to adapt to your different parenting styles.
When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of an experienced family law attorney often proves crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome of your family law matter. Contact us today for your free consultation.