Rana Glick, MA, LMFT
Marriage Therapist, Divorce Coach, & Family Mediator
Co-Parenting or Parallel Parenting: Parenting Together While Living Apart
The role of the parenting facilitator with separating and divorcing parents is to create guidelines for better parenting when parents live apart. A parenting plan can be devised to enable, foster and support better communication. By balancing the burden of parenting from a distance, especially in dual-career families, preconceived notions of what works can be challenged and channeled into acceptable guidelines and schedules based on you and your family’s needs. Raising the bar on competent parenting through and beyond divorce is achievable.
Non-defensive communication skill development and anger management techniques serve to address the emotional roller coaster parents feel when uncoupling their marriage. Creating a non-adversarial skill base of proactive and responsive communication is essential to achieving a successful parenting experience. A successful parenting experience may create the basis for an ongoing positive relationship with your ex spouse that takes you through graduations, weddings and grandchildren.
When direct and respectful communication fails to be productive, alternative resources can be creatively implemented to achieve a reasonable outcome without the fallout and damage highly charged emotional exchanges can precipitate. Parallel parenting is a mediating resource appropriate in such cases as it serves as a reasonable alternative to the revolving door of court, building fees, and a judicial system unfamiliar with the nuances of your particular case.
Parenting Plans may need to be re-negotiated and updated depending on the shifting needs of your family. With the help of a coach or mediator, updated plans can usually be achieved within 2 or 3 meetings to the satisfaction of both parents.
It has been said, and I agree, that “Custody is for Prisoners, Not Children”. Parenting is a privilege and a huge responsibility and obligation. So when I speak with you about your children’s needs and wants, and possibly including them in this conversation, my expectation is that you, as parents, will fulfill your obligation to them regardless of your animosity toward the other parent. As a matter of fact, I will also assume that if you need to work on your relationship with the other parent, and them with you, it will be done for the sake of your children, their health and well-being.
The Parent Coordinator (PC) is a licensed mental health professional or attorney trained in mediation, family systems and child development, parental alienation, domestic abuse, legal knowledge of divorce and custody and specifically in parent coordination training with a decade of experience working with individuals, couples and families. PC’s are called in by the court where traditional interventions have failed including mediation and collaboration. As another dispute resolution method for high conflict cases with child related issues, the PC uses conciliation skills to assist in reducing the potential for future parental conflicts and makes recommendations within the scope of the court ordered appointment.
Meetings may occur either individually or together, face to face or virtually. Compliance is recommended and necessary to protect the developmental interests of the child. Harm cause by the parents’ failure to implement and stay within the parenting plan, are viewed poorly by the court.
Parent coordination is NOT a confidential process nor is it appropriate for cases where the safety of any party is at risk.