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How to Implement a Parallel Parenting Plan

by | Aug 14, 2023 | 0 comments

parallel parenting plan - Two hands holding finger puppets of a family. The father is alone on the opposite hand.

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.

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Co-parenting after a separation or divorce can be one of life’s most intricate balancing acts, often entailing a myriad of emotions, logistics, and considerations.

For those of us who have embarked on this journey with a particularly challenging ex-partner, the experience can be even more intricate.

Personally, I understand this journey all too well, having navigated the tumultuous waters of parallel parenting with a toxic ex.

In fact, my journey has been so impactful that I decided to share my insights and experiences in a book, hoping to shed light on how others can traverse this complex path with resilience and grace!

But for now, I want to go over how to implement a parallel parenting plan once you have established one.

This can be particularly tricky, especially when you are trying to parent with a difficult, toxic, or narcissistic ex.

Before we delve in, though, let’s take a look at some parallel parenting examples so you can have a more rounded understanding of what parallel parenting is:

Parallel Parenting Plan Examples

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Parallel parenting is about establishing clear guidelines and boundaries that allow both parents to remain involved in their children’s lives while minimizing direct contact.

Here are some comprehensive examples of what a parallel parenting plan might entail:

  • Detailed Parenting Schedule: Comprehensive schedules that outline not only regular visitation times but also specifics like drop-off and pick-up arrangements, including location and method of transportation.
  • Holiday and Special Occasion Plans: Detailed plans for holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions that clearly outline where the children will be on these days and how the celebrations will be shared.
  • Communication Guidelines: Structured method of communication that focuses solely on the children’s needs that can include using email or a shared calendar app to discuss school events, medical appointments, and extracurricular activities.
  • Consistent Rules Across Households: Fundamental rules and expectations for the children’s behavior, education, and health are consistent across both households.
  • Healthcare and Education Decisions: How healthcare and education decisions will be made, including who has the final say in case of disagreements. 
  • Neutral Locations for Exchanges: Neutral and public locations for drop-offs and pick-ups to prevent any potential conflicts from arising in front of the children.
  • Method of Conflict Resolution: Process for resolving conflicts that may arise between parents. This could involve using a mediator or attending co-parenting counseling sessions to address differences constructively.
  • Parenting Style Autonomy: The freedom to make day-to-day decisions within their parenting time. This includes decisions about daily routines, discipline methods, and leisure activities, as long as the child’s safety and well-being are maintained.
  • Third-Party Involvement: The option of involving a neutral third party, such as a counselor, therapist, or mediator, to facilitate communication and help resolve any conflicts that arise.
  • Regular Review and Updates: Regular reviews and updates of the parenting plan to accommodate changes as the children grow and circumstances evolve.

Implementing these comprehensive components into your parallel parenting plan can set the stage for a smoother co-parenting experience.

Remember, the ultimate goal is to provide your children with stability, consistency, and a nurturing environment where they can flourish despite the challenges of divorce or separation.

How Do You Parallel Parenting With a Narcissistic Ex?

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Dealing with a narcissistic ex-partner while parallel parenting requires a delicate balance between ensuring your child’s well-being and managing the challenges that may arise.

This situation can be emotionally demanding, but there are effective strategies you can employ to navigate it successfully.

  • Setting Boundaries and Minimizing Engagement: Limit interactions to the essentials and keep communication brief and to the point. Maintain a neutral and business-like tone to avoid emotional manipulation or power struggles.
  • Consistency with the Parallel Parenting Plan: Clearly outline visitation schedules, communication methods, and guidelines for decision-making.
  • Documentation: Keep detailed records of all communication, including emails, text messages, and phone calls. This documentation serves as evidence in case you need to involve legal authorities or seek court intervention.
  • Legal Assistance: In cases where your narcissistic ex consistently violates the parallel parenting plan or engages in behaviors that jeopardize your child’s well-being, seeking legal intervention might be necessary.

How Do You Enforce Parallel Parenting?

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Enforcing a parallel parenting plan requires dedication, consistency, and a commitment to maintaining the well-being of your children above all else.

While challenges may arise, your determination to provide a positive and stable environment for your children remains the ultimate goal.

Here are some strategies to bolster your efforts:

  • Communication Channels: Ensure that communication remains focused and respectful. Utilize designated channels, such as email or a shared calendar, to relay important information and updates. Keeping discussions child-centric and devoid of personal matters can help prevent unnecessary conflicts.
  • Stick to the Schedule: Consistency is key. Adhere strictly to the parenting schedule to minimize unexpected conflicts and reduce unnecessary interactions. This not only provides a sense of stability for your children but also helps in avoiding misunderstandings.
  • Clear Boundaries: Establish and maintain clear boundaries. Clearly outline the roles, responsibilities, and expectations for each parent in the parenting plan. This clarity helps minimize confusion and potential areas of contention.
  • Document Everything: Maintain thorough records of all interactions and incidents related to co-parenting. This documentation can be invaluable if disputes arise or legal intervention becomes necessary. It provides an objective record of your commitment to the parenting plan and the children’s well-being.
  • Mediation and Support: When disagreements arise, consider involving a mediator or counselor to facilitate discussions. These professionals can help both parties find common ground and work through challenges in a constructive manner.
  • Focus on the Children: Remind yourself of the primary goal – the happiness and stability of your children. This perspective can help you navigate moments of frustration or conflict and encourage a more cooperative approach.
  • Self-Care and Support: Parallel parenting can be emotionally taxing, especially when dealing with a difficult ex-partner. Prioritize your own well-being by seeking support from friends, family, or even a therapist. Taking care of yourself allows you to be more patient and level-headed in challenging situations.
  • Legal Recourse: If the situation escalates and your ex-partner consistently violates the parallel parenting plan, consult your legal options. While legal action should be a last resort, having the ability to enforce the terms of the plan legally can provide added protection.
  • Remain Open to Adjustments: As circumstances change, be open to revisiting and adjusting the parallel parenting plan. Life events such as job changes or children’s developmental needs may require modifications. An adaptable approach can help maintain a functional co-parenting arrangement.
  • Celebrate Small Wins: Recognize and celebrate the positive moments. When both parties successfully adhere to the plan and put the children’s well-being first, acknowledge these accomplishments. It reinforces the idea that cooperation benefits everyone involved, especially the children.

In the end, parallel parenting isn’t about erasing conflicts entirely but rather managing them in a way that minimizes their impact on your children.

Your dedication to nurturing their growth and providing a harmonious environment is a testament to your strength and resilience.

By embracing these strategies and staying focused on your children’s happiness, you’re taking crucial steps toward creating a positive co-parenting journey.

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Focusing on What Matters

Parallel parenting is a valuable approach that empowers parents to provide a stable and nurturing environment for their children, even in challenging circumstances.

By following the outlined steps and remaining focused on fostering a positive atmosphere, you can pave the way for a brighter co-parenting journey!

I’d love to hear about your experiences with parallel parenting! Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below. Your stories and tips could be just the inspiration someone else needs on their co-parenting journey. <3

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