After a divorce, everyone wants a healthy co-parenting relationship with their ex. One in which you can comfortably voice any concerns and support each other. But what do you do when conversations constantly lead to disagreements? What happens when the support isn’t there?

Parallel parenting is one solution in these situations. Unlike traditional co-parenting, this is an arrangement that limits communication between parents. It can benefit high-conflict families by allowing parents to make important decisions together, but make day-to-day parenting decisions on their own.

What does parallel parenting look like?

Parallel parenting resembles a business partnership, where communication is professional and centered around one thing – your child. This mitigates the chances of arguing over trivial or unrelated matters.

When parallel parenting, you might limit communication to emails unless an emergency arises. Or you might keep a journal with updates on your child’s education, health and more that could be passed back and forth between visits.

Often times, you make the day-to-day decisions for your child when they’re at your house. When your child goes to your ex’s house, your ex will make all of these decisions. This may include rules surrounding chores, bedtime and homework.

What are the benefits?

One of the greatest benefits of parallel parenting is minimal communication, which can result in less fighting. Research shows that this can also protect your child from being caught in the middle of conflict. Exposure to constant fighting isn’t healthy for any child.

Because parallel parenting allows you to make simple decisions for your child without interference from your ex, your stress may be reduced. You may also feel more comfortable and confident in your decisions.

Parallel parenting does not need to be a long-term solution. You could use this method while fresh out of marriage, or during a particularly difficult stage in your co-parenting journey. Either way, you might consider it if traditional co-parenting is causing you excessive stress and fighting.