By Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS
Co-parenting vs. Parallel Parenting
Co-parenting involves things like collaboration, communication, and shared parenting values. It requires a willingness to look at the other parent's perspective and having some flexibility. During co-parenting, decisions about how the children will be raised happens in collaboration with each other and both sides take into account and try to share similar household rules and schedules.
Parallel Parenting limits the communication you have with the other parent and allows each parent to decide individually how to raise their children when they have them during their visitation time. The goal of this approach is that each parent will still place the needs of the child ahead of their own; however, as you have experienced, this is not always the case.
So, as you are thinking about your relationship with your ex, which seems more likely?
You may realize that you become extremely triggered and anxious any time you have any contact with your ex and that compromise and flexibility is not an option when your ex is involved. It's my way of the highway if your ex gets to be a part of the decision making and parenting styles.
In an ideal world, co-parenting will limit the loyalty anxiety that your children will experience, will model a healthy communication pattern, and both parents can authentically encourage the relationship the children have with the opposite parent.
Unfortunately, you are not living in an ideal world (understatement of the year).
So, what is best for your children?
So, as you read this, what type of parenting seems to be the best fit for you and your children?
What type of parenting will decrease yours and your child’s stress levels?
If you have decided that parallel parenting is the best option for your family, is it a good idea to stand up and tell the judge that you refuse to do co-parenting?
But you will know what you need to do to keep yourself and your kids as safe as you can given your situation.
Sybil Cummin, MA, LPC, ACS, is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in working with victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse.