Do you compare yourself to other parents a lot? It's a downfall that gets many people in Colorado and beyond stuck in a rut. Especially if you've recently gone through divorce, it's much healthier to remember that no two family situations are exactly the same. Just because you don't do things like your friend, co-worker or relative who has gone through divorce, doesn't mean you're doing it wrong.
In fact, there really isn't a right or wrong way to co-parent. It's more about working as a team with your ex to develop a plan that is fair and agreeable and keeps your kids' best interests in mind. When traditional co-parenting isn't working, you might want to consider other options, such as parallel parenting. Speaking with someone well versed in family law issues can be a gateway to learning more about this style of post-divorce parenting.
If parental interaction typically leads to conflict
You and your ex will always share a bond because you are parents of the same children. That doesn't mean you'll always be able to interact on a peaceful level, however. Children tend to experience high levels of stress when their parents are constantly confrontational with each other. The following list explains more about parallel parenting and how it can help:
- In high-conflict situations, parallel parenting allows co-parents to disengage from each other on a personal level as much as possible. If you feel it better for you and your ex to spend less time in the same room, this might be the option for you.
- A parallel parenting plan must be very detailed. By writing out terms of healthy boundaries, it helps parents maintain their own sense of independence while still allowing them to do what's best for their kids.
- For parallel parenting to be successful, you and your co-parent must agree to treat your relationship like a business arrangement and to always remain focused on your children's best interests rather than personal issues between the two of you.
- You can agree to only communicate with each other in writing if in-person conversations tend to spark arguments. You can use texting, email or other advanced technology to help you keep the peace when corresponding regarding child-related issues.
Because creating a business-like atmosphere is a crucial component of parallel parenting, you'll likely want to make some changes regarding custody exchanges and the like. For instance, many parents who use parallel plans agree to meet at neutral locations rather than drop off and pick up kids at each other's homes.
If the relationship between you and your co-parent is highly confrontational, you may even want to enlist third-party help to supervise exchanges. The family justice system provides many resources for parents in your type of situation to help develop alternative parenting plans when traditional co-parenting isn't working.