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Effective and Assertive Parallel Parenting

by | Sep 12, 2023 | 0 comments

Assertive parallel parenting. Woman has fists on hips with an angry look on her face.

The term “narcissism” on this blog is used to describe a specific set of personality traits. It is not intended to be used as a professional diagnosis.

TINY - Pins - Short (7)Parallel parenting can be a challenging journey, especially dealing with a narcissistic ex (or an ex that is just plain difficult).

I mean, you’re probably parallel parenting because the situation is challenging, but there’s a lot involved when it comes to reducing conflict in a toxic co-parenting dynamic.

While parallel parenting allows you to focus on your child’s well-being while minimizing drama and arguments, you need to be assertive to make sure this arrangement works.

You also have to make sure you parallel parenting effectively.

To help you out, we’re going to look at the concept of effective and assertive parallel parenting along with some examples and insights to help you navigate this often-difficult terrain:

Effective and Assertive Parallel Parenting Examples

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Parallel parenting often evokes various responses from both parents and the child involved.

In order to parallel parents in a way that is effective and assertive, it’s important to understand and prepare for these responses.

Here are some ways you can be more effective and assertive, as well as some examples:

Establish Clear Communication Boundaries

Assertiveness in parallel parenting starts with clear and respectful communication boundaries. For instance, if your ex-partner tends to be combative, establish a rule of communicating through written messages or emails.

This ensures that your conversations remain focused on co-parenting matters, reducing the potential for conflicts.

Example: Imagine your ex-partner tends to initiate confrontational phone calls or in-person meetings.

In response, assert your need for respectful communication by proposing that all discussions regarding your child’s needs, activities, or concerns occur exclusively through written messages or emails.

This approach minimizes direct verbal confrontations and ensures that conversations stay focused on the essential aspects of co-parenting.

Coordinate Schedules With Precision

Parallel parenting often involves separate routines and schedules for both households.

Be assertive in ensuring that these schedules are adhered to meticulously.

Provide detailed information about your child’s activities, such as school events, medical appointments, or extracurricular activities, to minimize misunderstandings.

Example: Precision in schedule coordination is vital in parallel parenting. Suppose your ex-partner tends to be inconsistent or unreliable with shared responsibilities.

In this case, assertively establish a detailed schedule that outlines each parent’s responsibilities down to the hour. Include important events like school activities, medical appointments, and even pick-up and drop-off times.

This level of detail minimizes misunderstandings and helps maintain consistency in your child’s life.

Use a Neutral Third Party

In situations where direct communication remains challenging, consider involving a neutral third party, such as a mediator or a co-parenting app.

Assertively suggest this idea to your ex-partner, emphasizing how it can benefit both parties by reducing conflicts and misunderstandings.

Example: Propose the use of a co-parenting app or a mediator to facilitate discussions regarding your child’s needs and decisions related to their upbringing. Highlight how this approach can reduce conflicts and create a more peaceful environment for everyone involved.

Maintain Emotional Detachment

Assertiveness also means maintaining emotional detachment from your ex-partner’s actions or comments. Focus on the bigger picture, which is your child’s well-being.

If your ex-partner tries to provoke you, practice self-control and avoid getting entangled in unnecessary disputes.

Example: Sometimes, your ex-partner may deliberately try to provoke emotional responses. In such cases, it’s essential to assert your emotional boundaries.

Imagine your ex-partner makes hurtful comments or attempts to engage in arguments. Instead of reacting emotionally, assertively practice self-control.

Respond calmly with a simple acknowledgment or by disengaging from the conversation. By doing so, you maintain your emotional detachment and prioritize your child’s well-being over unnecessary disputes.

How Do You Parallel Parent Effectively?

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Being assertive and effective in parallel parenting can greatly enhance communication and boundaries. In my book, “You Can’t Co-Parent With a Narcissist: A Guide to Parallel Parenting,” I delve deeper into this topic.

Here’s a bit from the book:

One common issue when dealing with a narcissist is the inability to co-parent effectively. Narcissists often have a “my way or the highway” mentality, which can lead to conflict and instability for the child. By setting boundaries, you can establish clear rules and expectations for both parents, which can help create a more stable co-parenting situation.

It’s also crucial to foster a mindset of adaptability and patience. Flexibility can be your greatest asset when unforeseen circumstances arise

 Life is dynamic, and situations change; therefore, your approach to parallel parenting should also be adaptable.

By remaining open to adjustments in schedules or communication methods, you demonstrate your commitment to making this arrangement work for the benefit of your child.

What Are the Responses to Parallel Parenting?

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Parallel parenting often evokes various responses from both parents and the child involved.

It’s essential to understand and prepare for these responses to ensure a smoother co-parenting journey:

Resistance from the Ex-Partner

Expect resistance from a difficult ex-partner when transitioning to parallel parenting. They might initially resist the idea or be hostile.

Be prepared to stand your ground while remaining respectful and assertive in your communication.

Offer to discuss their concerns and suggest mediation if necessary, emphasizing the benefits of reduced conflict and a more stable environment for your child.

Your Child’s Reaction

Children may react differently to parallel parenting. They might initially feel confused or resentful about the new arrangement.

Reassure your child that both parents love them and that this arrangement is aimed at reducing conflicts and creating a more stable environment.

Encourage open communication with your child, allowing them to express their feelings and concerns while emphasizing that their well-being is the top priority.

Support from Friends and Family

Seek support from friends, family members, or a therapist who can help you cope with the challenges of parallel parenting. Their understanding and encouragement can be invaluable during this transition.

Educate them about the concept of parallel parenting, so they can provide you with the emotional support you need. Share your successes and challenges with them, allowing their support to strengthen your resilience.

Legal Implications and Professional Guidance

Parallel parenting might involve legal agreements or court orders. Consult with a family law attorney if needed to ensure that your rights and responsibilities are legally protected.

You can also consider enlisting the guidance of a therapist or co-parenting counselor who specializes in high-conflict situations.

They can provide you with coping strategies, communication techniques, and tools to navigate parallel parenting successfully.

Evolving Dynamics Over Time

Recognize that the dynamics of parallel parenting can evolve over time. As your ex-partner becomes accustomed to the arrangement, their resistance may decrease, leading to more cooperative interactions.

Conversely, new challenges may arise as your child grows and their needs change. Stay flexible and adaptable, adjusting your approach to best meet the evolving needs of your child and the co-parenting situation.

Navigating Parallel Parenting With Confidence

So there you go! 

The more you practice these tips to parallel parent more effectively and assertively, the easier it will become, and the more your confidence will grow.

Just remember that resistance is likely, but your child’s well-being should always remain the top priority.

With determination and support, you can confidently embrace parallel parenting and provide your child with the love and stability they need!

I’d love to hear about your experiences with parallel parenting! Share your thoughts in the comments below and join our supportive community of moms working together for their children’s well-being.

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