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Parallel Parenting Coordination: Working With Doctors, Therapists, Teachers, and Lawyers

by | Nov 1, 2023 | 0 comments

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.

When you’re having a difficult time communicating with your co-parent, coordination with professionals like therapists, teachers, and lawyers can seem impossible.

I know what it’s like parallel parenting with a narcissist, and I know what it’s like to try and share information about my child only to have it end in an argument.

It made me not want to tell my ex anything, but I had to because of our court order.

If you’re in the same boat and are anxious to share important information about your child, there are ways you can coordinate with professionals while parallel parenting.

These strategies will help you with parenting coordination without conflict and chaos.

This way, you can uphold your responsibilities by ensuring your ex’s parental involvement while not allowing them any opportunities to manipulate the situation or start an argument.

So, let’s talk about parallel parenting coordination when it comes to doctors, therapists, teachers, and lawyers!

Communicating With Doctors and Health Professionals

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Most custody orders and court orders between co-parents are going to stipulate that parents must share medical information about the child.

However, if your ex is particularly manipulative, they may take this opportunity to blame you for any of your child’s physical struggles (even if it’s a common cold).

If that’s the case, here are some strategies for parallel parenting with a narcissist while managing your child’s medical needs:

Shared Medical Information

Work with your ex to create a shared medical information document that includes important details about your child’s health history, allergies, and ongoing treatments.

You can share something like a Google Doc or use an app like OurFamilyWizard to keep track of information.

Keeping this information in a document will help both of you stay on the same page regarding your child’s health. It will also help reduce face-to-face conversations and avoid confrontation.

Doctor’s Appointments

Ideally, you should attend doctor’s appointments together, but we all know what it can be like to go spend extended periods of time with a narcissistic co-parent.

Instead, try to give your ex an opportunity to take turns with appointments. If they refuse, then you’ll have to take your child yourself.

Just make sure you update the medical document with any changes during the appointment.

Obtaining Consent

Agree on a process for obtaining medical consent for medical procedures or treatments – and have this in writing!

This could involve both parents having to sign consent forms, even if legal custody is solely with one parent.

If you’re not 100% sure how medical consent works in your situation, talk to a family lawyer.

Direct Communication

If you do have to talk to your ex about medical information or decisions, keep it focused on your child’s health.

Even if they try to blame you for anything or cause a ruckus, stick to the facts and maintain a professional tone. This will help you avoid any conflicts.

Involving Therapists and Counselors

Mental health professionals can be a valuable resource when it comes to your child’s well-being, and parallel parenting coordination may involve a therapist or counselor

If you are taking your child to therapy, your ex doesn’t have to be directly involved in your child’s sessions.

Again, most custody agreements will stipulate that you have to inform your ex of important medical things, including counseling.

And if your ex wants to be involved in your child’s therapy and mental health, there may not be a whole lot you can do to stop them.

In order to better control your ex’s parental involvement when it comes to therapists and counselors, here are some tips:

Open and Honest Communication

I know that communicating with a narcissist or difficult ex while co-parenting isn’t the easiest thing to do, but the best thing you can do is try.

Start a conversation with your ex about the importance of therapy and how it can benefit your child. Emphasize that it’s not about blame but about helping your child thrive.

Choose a Neutral Therapist

Choose a therapist who is experienced in working with high-conflict families. This can help make sure that their therapeutic process is fair and unbiased.

This way, it’s harder for your ex to manipulate the situation.

Boundaries and Consent

Clearly establish boundaries regarding your ex’s parental involvement in the therapy process.

Let them know when and how they will be updated on progress and only involve them to the extent that’s in the child’s best interest.

Be sure also to emphasize that they are not to ask your child about their sessions and that your child can speak about them if they choose.

Keep detailed records of any incidences related to your child’s therapy.

Coordinating With Teachers and School Staff

Your child’s education is another important aspect of their life. If your ex wants to be involved in their academics, you’ll have to coordinate with teachers and school staff.

Here’s what you can do:

Inform the School

Let the school know about your co-parenting situation. You can share a general overview of the situation without getting into personal details.

This can include things like whether or not your ex can have access to their child’s file and if they are or aren’t an emergency contact.

(This is not a decision you can make in this situation on your own. It will all depend on your custody agreement.)

Sharing this information will help the school understand any potential challenges that may arise.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Try to attend parent-teacher conferences separately if you can. Give your ex the necessary information to book their own meeting separate from yours.

This is another good reason why you should let the school, especially your child’s teacher, know what’s going on. That way, they can expect to accommodate two meetings for your child.

Having separate meetings ensures that there is parental involvement in your child’s education from both sides, without the potential for conflicts.

Communicate Through a Third Party

Sometimes parallel parenting coordination doesn’t have to involve contacting your ex at all! If your situation is particularly high-conflict, you can have a third party relay information to your ex about your child’s education.

While you can involve friends or family members who are willing to talk to your ex, you can always hire a professional mediator. This is a good solution if you feel that communication with your ex is going to be particularly aggressive or problematic.

Working With Legal Professionals

If you are parallel parenting with a narcissist or difficult ex, it’s likely that you are going to end up in family court. 

In these cases, your lawyer is going to communicate with your ex’s lawyer. This means that when it comes to court issues and discussions, you will not have to communicate directly with your ex.

However, in order for this to work without conflict, you need to work closely with your lawyer and provide them with as enough information as possible.

For instance, make sure you are keeping detailed records. This includes all interactions, agreements, and disputes related to custody and visitation. This document is invaluable to your lawyer.

Also, make sure your lawyer is experienced in custody cases, especially high-conflict ones. They can help you navigate the legal process and make sure your child’s best interests are protected.

Parallel Parenting Coordination – You Can Make It Work!

I know parallel parenting with a narcissist can be exhausting, but the more effort you put into making things work and reducing conflict, the better things will be.

And this goes for both you and your child!

So keep working at parallel parenting coordination with professionals, and you’ll notice how much less conflict there is.

And you’ll be helping your child thrive, despite the challenges.

How do you handle challenging co-parenting situations when it comes to professionals? Any tips to add? Let us know in the comments! ⬇️⬇️⬇️

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