Coparenting Versus Parallel Parenting

Parenting after divorce can range from very smooth to completely and utterly difficult. In general after divorce, most parents “coparent” together—sharing duties, working together to be on the same page discipline wise, acting together to plan hobbies, as well as making decisions together on medical and educational matters. It’s not always smooth and pretty, but some parents of divorce can coparent like champs, and even spend time together.

Yeah. That happens sometimes.

But for parents who are in high-conflict divorces or are in the middle of negotiating a divorce, coparenting can be very difficult and sometimes, completely impossible. In that case, these parents “parallel parent,” in which they make daily choices for the kids on their own, without consulting the other parent. In general, they’ll still make the major decisions together—albeit mostly through email—such as health care and education. Because the strife is so ripe and the relationship is so toxic or disengaged, former spouses who parallel parent may not breathe even one word to each other; instead, they rely on the technology of email and text to get the decisions resolved.

Here are the daily differences between coparenting and parallel parenting:

Awareness of the households:

Coparenting— Coparents are very aware of what is going on in the former spouse’s household. They’re both aware of the routines and respect each other’s household differences.

Read More: Coparenting Versus Parallel Parenting

Sometimes You Can’t Coparent,

Laura

The Other Woman Who Snuggles My Daughter

“I wanted blood.I wanted to take her and toss her into the ocean and never look back again.”

Parenting after divorce has its heartaches that no one may ever whisper aloud, until now.

Read my essay in the New York Times.

Trying to Have Faith and Believe More Love is a Good Thing,

Laura

 

Why Your “Broken Home” Isn’t Broken — It’s Just Different

I came from a “married family” so when I knew it was time for my ex-husband and I to divorce, I was devastated. I grew up in a time in which there was a lot of “hush-hush” and shocking quality to divorce because very few parents were splitting. So when it came time for me to be a single divorced parent, I felt a lot of shame—I’m not going to lie. I felt like a failure even though it had taken two of us to tango, and I had begged for marriage counseling and we went on three different occasions. The “broken home” family image really shook me: was my daughter now to be pitied by others or frowned on as just another “kid from a divorced family?”

No and no!

It took me some time but now I can say with full honesty that I love the time I have as just the two of us. We aren’t a broken family—we are a different family. She has time with her dad and time with me and the time she has with just she and I is fabulous. And while from time to time I wish I had a nice partner to spend time with and someone to enjoy romance with, I never feel as if we AREN’T a family! That’s ludicrous. Here’s why your family isn’t broken, it’s just different, after divorce or after perhaps being stranded by your child’s father—whichever your personal case:

Read More: Why Your “Broken Home” Isn’t Broken — It’s Just Different

Unified,

Laura

 

Children of Divorce Benefit From Play Therapy

I am not a play therapist nor am I a therapist or social worker.

I’m just your average everyday mother with a beautiful only child– a child of divorce.
My ex-husband (it’s almost official) and I were both raised by two parents that stayed married and are still married. Neither of us could really understand nor will we ever fully understand the position our daughter is in. For me, it was a no-brainer that play therapy could help our child. It took longer to convince him, but he’s a believer now I’d say!

A former teacher, I had seen children go through a lot of nasty divorces and I had promised myself when the two of us decided to divorce that we would never be those parents arguing in the school parking lot and that promise has been upheld.

Read More: Children of Divorce Benefit From Play Therapy

Believe It,

Laura

5 Reasons Hating Your Ex Is Bad For Your Kids

I am very mad at my ex today as I write this. Really mad. Angry as hell even. It took me a long time to get mad at my ex and you know what? To some extent some angry is good in the grieving process of divorce. It helps you let go of those romantic feelings you may have as you two split. It also helps you start to recognize the things that weren’t working in your marriage and it may even get you to focus on you and all of your dreams and goals. It becomes a problem however, when you hate your ex so much that the hatred consumes you and is unrelenting.

It becomes a problem when your kids notice that “Gee, Mommy really hates Daddy now doesn’t she?”

If you really hate your ex I know it’s hard to hold it back, but keep in mind why biting your vicious tongue is a good idea around your kids with these points:

Read More: 5 Reasons Hating Your Ex Is Bad For Your Kids

Do the Right Thing,

Laura

Should You Meet Your Ex’s New Partner Before Your Kids Do?

For most single and divorced parents, getting to meet an ex’s new boyfriend or girlfriend before the kids do is not even an option. Your ex wouldn’t think of even bothering to do that, but if your ex takes your opinion seriously and wants you to get a feel for his new partner before your children meet her, do you go? Or do you say, “No thanks”?

In my opinion, unless it’s incredibly hard for you (we’ll discuss this later), you should go!

Read More: Should You Meet Your Ex’s New Partner Before Your Kids Do?

Take the High Road,

Laura

8 Tips For Successfully Coparenting During the School Year

Back to school is here, which means doing the coparenting and school dance that can be oh so tricky. You know, how your ex finds out about a major project homework assignment yet somehow you didn’t? Not out of maliciousness, but due to poor communication or perhaps out of maliciousness (but I sure hope not!) If your child is going back and forth between two homes like many divorced kids today, school work can be tricky. Manage the school year and keep the flow of communication open between you, your ex, and the school with a few tips!

Read More: 8 Tips For Successfully Coparenting During the School Year

Teamwork Baby,

Laura

The Reason Divorcing Families Should Limit the Time They Spend Together

My ex and I had decided when we first separated that we would make this as easy as possible on our daughter. We figured doing things together beyond just the school events and her birthday would be helpful to her. Why would spending time together hurt her? We wanted to be the divorced couple that did it differently. No fights in the school parking lot. No heated custody battles. Just a smooth transition for our girl and why not go together to pumpkin pick or see the tree at Rockefeller Center at Christmastime? It seemed harmless and actually helpful. What child of divorce wouldn’t want his or her parents to get along and spend time together when they could?

Well, if the child of divorce that finds his or her parents spending time together . . . as confusing.

Read More: The Reason Divorcing Families Should Limit the Time They Spend Together

Communicate With Your Child & Ex,

Laura

How to Build a New Support System as a Single or Divorced Mom

If you’re a newly single mom or a single or divorced mother who is still having a hard time finding backup, getting a support system in place is crucial. Whether it’s finding someone to help with your children or creating new holiday traditions as a new “family” of sorts, creating a new village for yourself will enrich your life and your children’s.

Camaraderie

Whether you’ve been a single parent for two days or two years, having women to turn to who have been there and done that is valuable. It took me a year to finally make my own social media group comprised of single moms. I added acquaintances and friends (and suggested they add friends too) in order to get some support on questions and problems I had that my other friends and family couldn’t answer. While I know some ladies better than others, I consider them a good source of information and one I need as I venture into a new life with my daughter, alone.

Read More: How to Build a New Support System as a Single or Divorced Mom

It Takes a Village,

Laura

Why We Need to Be Better at Supporting Single Dads

It’s not easy to be a single mom, and as mothers we know this whether we are one . . . or not. It’s common for women to support other single moms and to appreciate how that can be a tough journey as a mom and person, but it’s rare that people offer sympathy for single dads. Every Father’s Day, there are people on my social media feed as well as major corporations acknowledging the women who are pulling both mom and dad duties, which is heartfelt and amazing.

But what about single dads?

Read More: Why We Need to Be Better at Supporting Single Dads

Rooting for Everyone,

Laura