Parenting Coordinator

What is a parenting coordinator, and how can one help divorced parents succeed with parallel parenting?

The services of a parenting coordinator may make the process of entering into parallel parenting easier. This can help avoid any loopholes or problems that may arise. Seemingly minor issues that tend to become difficult include clothing, activities, and bedtimes. Each of the parents has to know their primary responsibility. For instance, one of the parents can be responsible for making decisions concerning the education while the other will be responsible for the medical needs of the children.

A parenting coordinator can be thought of as an intermediary for separated parents who struggle with conflict while attempting to raise their children.

In states where a parenting coordinator is court-ordered, the PC might be expected to testify in a family court, if litigation ever occurs about the parents they are attempting to help.

A parenting coordinator is not authorized to change the visitation schedule or custody schedule; however, they can help with parent-to-parent communication about many things. A parenting coordinator can help parent avoid parental alienation, by restricting what they can and cannot discuss around their children. They can even be the final say on issues that the parents cannot resolve without conflict, like which sports the children will play, what religion they will follow, what activities they can engage in, and so on.

What are the benefits of parallel parenting?

Significantly lower conflict
Conflict is the primary cause of just about every negative effect that children of divorce experience.  Parallel parenting can essentially prevent children from suffering the negative effects of divorce on children.

Save significant money on legal costs
Conflict is expensive.  When parents are in conflict, the likelihood for litigation increases.  Any money spent on litigation is money that is not available for the children.

Children grow up happier
Children are able to enjoy a meaningful relationship with both parents.  They do not have to feel that they are somehow at fault for the conflict that is happening between them and their children.

Parents are less stressed
With less conflict comes less stress.  Parents are much more likely to be able to move on from the divorce and find happiness thereafter.

Parents enjoy their time with their children more
The entire family unit, though separate, is able to better enjoy their time with their children.  If parents know that conflict will not erupt from the decisions they make during their parenting time, parenting becomes much more enjoyable for both parents.

What are some drawbacks associated with parallel parenting?

Parallel parenting does have some drawbacks:

  • Children will have a difficult time in containing their feelings. The child may not be able to ask the right questions.
  • Navigating and moving between the two households involved is difficult for the children. It usually raises loyalty issues especially if the child feels like being in one household for a longer period than the other household.
  • For the parents, they will not have a complete picture of the children. In most cases, it becomes difficult to know what the child is doing when he or she is at the other house.

How should parallel parents communicate so conflict can be reduced?

In parallel parenting, communication is still very important – though guarded. If there is any emergency, both parents should communicate and make the necessary decisions immediately. The communication can be done through email, via a third party, or via online divorce communication software.  Verbal communication should be avoided or restricted in ways that avoid conflict triggers.

One of the most important tools a parallel parent should use is something called a “parenting notebook”.  A parenting notebook lets each parent share the events that occurred during their parenting time, so certain details can be provided to the other parent when it is their turn.  In a nuclear family with both parents living in the same household, parents automatically share day-to-day events with the other parent.  In a parallel parenting situation, this type of communication must be more formal.

A parenting notebook is a valuable tool for both co-parents and parallel parents, but it is almost a necessity for parallel parent since their verbal contact is limited due to the potential for conflict.

Can parents who use parallel parenting ever become try co-parents?

Yes.  Ideally, parents in high-conflict after a divorce will be able to put the conflict behind them as time goes on. By committing to parallel parenting techniques, it is very possible that a new level of respect will emerge after the emotions of the divorce have passed.  At that time, co-parenting becomes possible.

It is advisable to gradually segue into co-parenting, rather than radically switching the entire parenting strategy.  If parallel parenting is working, the last thing that either parent wants to do is to ruin that.  If parents become more amicable and are able to talk verbally over time, then gradually introduce verbal communication.  But if the conflict begins again, retreat back to parallel parenting before the entire situations becomes high-conflict.


Learn issues and logistics of parallel parenting?

Psychology today write about understanding why parallel parenting is helpful and offer words of caution.

Dealing with a crazy co-parent?

Though this article is written for men, it could apply to either gender and is chalk full of good tips.

Call our office today to schedule a meeting with one of our great staff that can provide you a parenting plan or schedule you for an individually designed personalized educational program for your specific needs 760-513-6587. We work will all budget levels.