After a divorce, it can be challenging to figure out the best way to continue raising your children together. Will you be able to work together cooperatively? Or will it be a more conflicted arrangement? Research has identified three types of post-divorce co-parenting relationships: parallel, cooperative, and conflicted co-parenting. Let's examine the pros and cons of each kind of arrangement.
Parallel parenting is the most common post-divorce co-parenting arrangement, occurring more than 50% of the time. In this arrangement, parents participate jointly in their children's upbringing and activities, but there is little to no interaction between the parents. Each parent focuses on their relationship with the children and leaves the other parent out.
• Parents are less likely to butt heads because they are not directly interacting with each other.
• Children can still maintain close relationships with both parents since they are actively involved in their lives.
• Parents may have difficulty coordinating schedules and making decisions together since they are not communicating directly.
• Children may feel stuck in the middle if they serve as the primary communication channel between their parents.
Cooperative co-parenting is an arrangement in which both parents are fully committed to working together for the benefit of their children. They communicate frequently and openly, share important information about their children's lives, and make joint decisions about their upbringing. This type of arrangement occurs around 25% of the time.
• Parents can effectively coordinate their schedules and make decisions since they communicate frequently.
• Children can feel confident that both parents are on the same page regarding their upbringing and know they can count on both parents for support.
• Parents model healthy conflict resolution skills for their children by handling disagreements constructively.
• Parents may have difficulty agreeing on some decisions, leading to conflict.
• Parents may feel like they have lost independence when making decisions about their children's lives.
Conflicted co-parenting is an arrangement in which the parents have difficulty communicating and collaborating effectively. This type of arrangement occurs around 25% of the time.
• Parents may have more freedom to make decisions independently since they are not coordinating closely.
• Children may feel like they have more space if their parents are not constantly communicating with each other about their lives.
Parents may inadvertently put their children in the middle of disagreements if they use them as a way to communicate with each other indirectly. Parents may struggle to coordinate schedules effectively and make decisions since communication is more complicated. Children may feel they need to choose between their parents or feel like they are living in two separate worlds if their parents aren't communicating well."
There is no one correct answer when it comes to post-divorce co-parenting arrangements. It ultimately depends on what will work best for you and your ex-partner based on your relationship and parenting styles. If you're struggling to reach an agreement, it might be helpful to seek out mediation or counseling services to develop a plan that works for everyone involved."