Divorce with children is difficult, but dealing with joint custody in the aftermath can be even more of a challenge. Particularly if your ex-spouse is a narcissist or just very difficult to get along with, you may find the idea of continuing to parent with them exhausting.
A traditional co-parenting setup is not for everybody. Fortunately, many divorced families in difficult situations have found success with parallel parenting. According to Healthline, parallel parenting allows children access to both parents while minimizing their exposure to conflict between their parents.
How is it different from co-parenting?
A traditional co-parenting set up generally involves the parents putting on a united front for the sake of the children. This does not mean that they pretend they are still married; rather, they merely come together to support their child.
Parallel parenting is different. With a co-parenting set up, you might have both parents attending a sporting event and sitting together, even if they bring their new partners with them. With parallel parenting, only one parent would attend the sporting event. The second parent may attend the post-game celebration.
How does this benefit us?
Even if you and your ex-spouse cannot be in the same room together without an argument, it is still valuable for your children to have exposure to both of you. However, it is not good to expose your children to whatever the conflict is between you. Parallel parenting protects both the parents and the children.
Additionally, depending on your potential situation, successful parallel parenting may eventually graduate into a more relaxed co-parenting arrangement, if desired.