For those of you who aren't co-parenting, parallel parenting is the alternative that you turn to. You do what works at your house, your ex does what works at their house. It limits communication as the parties aren't trying to compromise, and while it's not as easy on the kids as co-parenting is, it's considerably easier on the kids than having parents who cannot communicate argue constantly.
So what happens when your kids are in school and you need to communicate to get things done? I'm thinking about long-term projects, extra-curricular activities, even choir or band nights here. How do you make sure your kids are getting what they need without making it harder on them? Here are my tips for making parallel parenting work:
- Try communicating with your ex. The first step should always be to try and communicate with them. Mention the event and see what type of response you get. If it's no response or an awful response, you can always get out of the conversation by explaining what you'll be doing or by saying, "Thank you" and move on to some of the other suggestions.
- Create a "kids only" calendar. Google is a great option for this as the google calendar can be used on any smart phone, accessed online on any computer, and available when needed. What's great about this is that the kids can get involved (if appropriate age-wise) and list items they need both parents to be aware of. If you're using CoParently or Our Family Wizard, there's an excellent calendar built into those! Put the kids activities on it. If your ex chooses not to pay attention to it or doesn't put items on it, there are ways around it (frustrating, but realistic for some individuals).
- Check with the school for an online calendar. Most school's now-a-days list many of the school activities online, so you can easily sync it with the calendar mentioned above. It eliminates the need for someone to input items into the calendar and keeps things open. Sometimes you can even get the homework due dates on an online calendar. If not, and you have a child who struggles to get homework turned in on time, this is a great activity to keep him/her engaged - have THEM put the homework due dates on the calendar so both parents can follow up.
- Go straight to the source. If your ex refuses to tell you what's happening - go to the source. Contact the school and ask for separate copies of notes. Go to the coach and ask for your own calendar. Skip the aggravation and handle it on your own if you need to. (Note: This isn't fair. It is frustrating. It shouldn't be this way. Sometimes it is, though, and I'm genuinely sorry if this is you, know that you are not alone.)
There's no use in trying to sugar coat it. It isn't easy to parallel parent and get your kids through school. In fact, it isn't easy to get kids through school. It is possible, however, and these are just a couple of the creative ways to do it. Generally speaking, when parallel parenting, there can be at least 1 parent who is focused on the academics. Sometimes that parent bears the brunt of getting things done for school, but I tell these parents that it's better to have at least 1 parent engaged for their kids' sake than 0 parents engaged.
Comment below with how you manage in parallel parenting situations and still get things done for school.
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