Parallel Parenting - Parallel Parenting is a form of parenting in which a divorced couple assume or are assigned specific parental duties while minimizing or eliminating contact with each other, thus minimizing exposure of the children to potential conflict.
Parallel Parenting is generally a good idea in high conflict cases when the other spouse suffers from a personality disorder. However, in order to make this happen you will need to exercise strong boundaries in order to maintain a healthy separation between you and your ex-spouse while trying to limit the drama fro your children.
Getting a divorce does not cure a person from a personality disorder, knock sense into them or change their ways. Therefore the same level of boundary maintenance that you once needed when you were married will be needed in organizing and arranging issues to do with your children.
People with personality disorders often manufacture conflict and exhibit very poor boundaries and so it will take a constant effort on your part to try to maintain a stable environment as possible for your children and yourself.
Here are some ideas:
1. Minimize direct contact between you and our ex-spouse. Arrange for handovers of the children to occur at school rather than at your house.
2. Avoid telephone conversations - these are often stressful and prone to miscommunications. If your ex calls you let the machine answer it and then listen to the message first - that way you will have time to think about your response rather than having to react immediately. Reply via email or letter.
3. Use written contact or email rather than verbal communications about the children. This is less emotional, less prone to misinterpretation and there is a record of what has been said or agreed to. Use a separate email account from your regular email account for this.
4. There is an excellent website designed for divorced families to communicate at http://www.ourfamilywizard.com The children's medical, educational, babysitter information can be stored, the parenting schedule is published and and messages can be sent back and forth between the parents.
5. Maintain consistency in the schedule - this is best for the parents and the children. Avoid casual arrangements and stick to the rigorous schedule - this helps avoid miscommunications which often result in conflict.
6. Stick to the court orders. Don't get onto the slippery slope of compromising on court orders as you will likely lose a lot more than you will gain.
7. Allow your children to love your ex. Don't fall into the trap of criticizing their parent to them. It may make you feel better but it will hurt them. Talk to a friend if you need a shoulder to cry on about your ex. Your kids will figure out soon enough which parent is consistent and loving and which one is full of it. After all you did - even though you weren't able to figure that out when you first got involved with them.
8. Give your children a healthy, normal, fun-filled, adventurous childhood as much as you can. Spend your energy there as that is an investment that will pay you back a hundredfold. You can't fix your ex so you might as well stop trying. As the old adage goes - "living well is the best revenge
For More Information & Support...
If you suspect you may have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, we encourage you to learn all you can and surround yourself with support as you learn how to cope.
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