What is parallel parenting?

When divorced parents aren’t able to effectively communicate in a respectful manner with regards to raising their children, parallel parenting offers a “no contact” solution that limits communication and lessens the stress on all parties involved. Most importantly, the children.

Deep down, both parents want what’s best for the children. But sometimes, there’s unresolved issues that prevent divorced parents from leaving children out of their battle and effectively co-parent. THAT’S when we suggest parallel parenting.

When should you consider parallel parenting?

Well, let me ask you these things…do you turn into a different person when trying to communicate with your ex about your children? Is there nothing but mud slinging, accustations, and hurtful tones when trying to communicate? Are there unreasonable demands from the other party? Is there continual manipulation of the parenting plan and/or manipulation of the children? Then parallel parenting might be your answer to parenting your shared children.

Parallel parenting provides minimal communication with your ex and you’ll be able to maintain your own parenting style without being told you’re “not doing it right.” So, if you’d like to lessen this kind of banter, consider parallel parenting. Also, if you’ve ever been told you’re “high conflict” or you’ve left any conversation with your ex feeling angry, again, you should consider parallel parenting.

How does parallel parenting work?

We suggest communicating only in email unless it’s an emergency situation. This lessons the eye rolls and the defense wall that comes up when you see your ex’s name come across your phone.

In your email, keep it brief and stick to the facts. There’s nothing more hurtful than being told you’re being a bully or bossy when communicating about your children. Here’s an example:


I needed to let you know that Johnny’s soccer practice was changed from Wednesday to Thursday (please see the forwarded email which I’ve attached in case you didn’t see it yet,) which would fall on your scheduled time. If you’re unable to take him, I’m able to do so and drop him to your home immediately after.

If you need me to assist you with the practice switch, please let me know by Tuesday COB so that I’m able to let Johnny know who to expect that day.

Thank you,


It’s to the point, offers a solution, and asks for more information so that the child is the main focus. You may not want to put “thank you” and that’s ok, but we highly suggest ending the email on a positive note. All in all, be nice. It’s helpful for everyone involved.

Side note: There are situations when a Parenting Coordinator can be a go between when it comes to communication, but please keep in mind, this can get VERY expensive and can potentially cause unnecessary delays relaying information. (We’ll go into more detail about Parenting Coordinators in another post so, stay tuned.) There’s are also effective tools such as OurFamilyWizard if issues arise with standard email communication. For more information regarding OurFamilyWizard, please visit www.ourfamilywizard.com

In conclusion,

Keep in mind that parallel parenting is considered if parents continue a toxic relationship after divorce, but the hope is that over time, the parents are able to put aside hurt and indifferences and consider what’s in the best interest of their children. Parallel Parenting works as a last resort as Co-Parenting should be the first option. But, when that’s not an option, the aforementioned solutions can establish an effective parallel parenting situation.

For more on Coparenting, visit here: What Does It Take To Co-Parent?

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