Parallel Parenting – Pros and Cons

5 min read

Written by Sindhuja Prabhu

Sindhuja Prabhu

Parallel parenting benefits kids

Are you a single parent or soon-to-be single parent who is not sure about how to parent your child or children with the other parent? Don’t know how to parent your child without crossing each other’s boundaries or dragging the child into all the chaos? Don’t worry, both of you can successfully parent your child or children through parallel parenting.

According to ResearchGate, a child’s behavior is directly related to the style of parenting they are experiencing. When you and your partner decide to split ways, it can be hard on the child but with parallel parenting, you can ensure your child has a secure childhood as they grow up.  Read on to find out how you and your partner can parent amicably, with the child’s welfare as the focus. 

In This Article

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting is a method of parenting where both parents do not meet or communicate much. Though they are parenting the same child or children, they do not usually discuss and take decisions mutually. They have clear and strict boundaries to ensure the interaction is minimal and everything goes on smoothly. The parents will also avoid commenting on, or interfering with each other’s rules and methods of parenting.

In parallel parenting, the lawyers or some mediator will usually communicate and fix schedules such as which days of the week the child will be with whom, the pick-up and drop schedules, which parent has to attend which events involving the child, etc.

Top 5 Major Benefits of Being a Parallel Parent

Kids get quality time with both parents

While it may not seem like a great decision, when you agree to become a parallel parent, you stand to enjoy the following benefits-

1. Avoid Drama

When both parents opt for parallel parenting, they can avoid dragging the child through all the unnecessary drama of custody battles or fights over parenting issues.

2. Setting Clear Boundaries

Both of you can set clear boundaries and avoid any unnecessary confusion or interference. By being a parallel parent, you can avoid dragging the bitterness between you two, when you parent the child.

3. Healthy Environment

When parents fight or ask a child to choose sides, they cause some serious trauma which many children may not grow out of. Through parallel parenting, you both are providing a more secure environment for the child to grow up in.

4. Benefit of Both Parents

Through parallel parenting, the child gets to grow up and spend quality time with both parents. They need not choose one over the other.

5. Facilitates Healing

When a couple splits up, even if amicably, emotions are sure to run high. Not meeting or communicating during such an emotional period can help them heal faster.

Are There Any Disadvantages of Parallel Parenting?

Parallel parenting can be confusing for the child

Just like any parenting method, parallel parenting has its own share of advantages and disadvantages. Some of the major disadvantages of parallel parenting are-

1. Confuses the Child

Two sets of rules, that may contradict each other in some places due to the parents’ differences, can confuse the child. Especially if it is a young child, they might find it difficult to keep track of what to do where and what to avoid mentioning or doing. It can be emotionally draining for the child.

2. Missing Out

When parents take turns, they might miss out on what is going on in their kid’s life. They may feel they are not getting the full picture of what’s going on with their children. This may happen because of the kids staying with different parents during different intervals of time. Also, if the child is small, missing out on their milestones is a very real issue that is bound to arise. One parent might get to see the child achieve the milestones, while the other only gets to hear about it. It can build resentment toward one another.

3. Can Affect the Kid

Children can tell when their parents are not on good terms. They can start feeling insecure, or develop attachment issues. A high conflict relationship between parents has on the kids.

[Read : How To Support Your Child When You Are Going Through A Divorce?]

How to Create a Parallel Parenting Plan?

Plan accordingly to avoid any clashes

When you and your partner decide to separate and opt for parallel parenting, you need to come up with a parenting plan keeping the following in mind-

  • Be very clear about each partner’s timings with the kid. Be it the stay duration, pick up and drop timings, holidays, special occasions, etc., stick to the schedule
  • Decide on a mediator to communicate between the parents, to avoid conflicts that can arise by meeting or communicating with each other
  • Come up with a backup plan to deal with last-minute changes or cancellations. Decide how you will handle the child’s disappointments
  • Decide where the pickups and drops, and meetings if necessary, will happen

Parallel parenting ensures both parents and the children do not miss out on much. The children get to grow up with both parents and both parents are a part of the children’s lives throughout. When you create a solid plan, everyone can benefit more than losing.

[Read : 10 Hacks That Make Parenting Easy]


1. What is The Difference Between Parallel Parenting And Co-Parenting?

In co-parenting both parents make important decisions together. Whereas in parallel parenting, the parents do not communicate with one another and will not interfere with each other’s way of parenting either.

2. Is Parallel Parenting Harmful For The Child?

Growing up in a household where parents fight or make the child choose sides can be very traumatic for a child. When the parents decide to split up and opt for parallel parenting, they provide a more secure and stable environment for the child to grow in.

Read Also: RIE Parenting: How Does it Work?

Sindhuja Prabhu,M.Sc (Psychology),PGDBM

Sindhuja, a mother of two, is an obsessive mom with a keen interest in psychology, especially child psychology. Her quest for knowledge and way with words led her to become a passionate content writer. She transformed her love for writing into a full-fledged career which incidentally also turned up being the perfect stress buster for the last 5 years.Read more.

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