Couples with children have some major adjustments to make when separating
or going through a divorce. One of the main changes that they will experience
is that instead of
parenting together, for the most part, they will each now parent separately. The
child or children will often experience a significantly different parenting style at one
house than at the other, and this can result in tension and miscommunication.
Throw significant others and step-parents into the mix, and the situation
can become even more challenging.
The term "co-parenting" is frequently thrown around in the world of family law. In a nutshell,
it means that both parents cooperate to parent their child or children
in a consistent, agreed-upon fashion. While this sounds great in the abstract,
the reality is that co-parenting is not possible in many situations. Unfortunately,
parents are sometimes so angry at each other that communication is not
healthy. Sometimes one parent refuses to communicate. It also happens
that the parents discuss how to parent their children, but cannot agree
on certain issues.
What do you do when co-parenting fails? You parallel parent. Instead of
spinning your wheels trying to convince the other parent of your way of
thinking, you simply parent your child or children your way at your home.
You do the very best job you can to show your children love, to instill
values, and to have a great time with them when they are with you. The
children will adjust to the fact that mom parents one way, and dad parents
another. They will get used to this and will learn that it is normal and
it is OK. While you may have limited ability to control all of the other
parent's choices, you will minimize conflict between parents and in
so doing, put the best interests of the children first.