Skip to main content
Parents   »   Parallel parenting – when the conflicts are too deep

Parallel parenting – when the conflicts are too deep

Sometimes the circumstances don’t allow for the two parents to work together as a team. To protect the child (and yourself) from conflict, it may be necessary to avoid contact. This is called parallel parenting and can be the solution until co-parenting is possible.

A summary of this article below.

When deep conflicts is a fact

Despite the conflicts between parents that may be so great that they prevent normal cooperation in regards to the children, it’s important to recognize that this is the current situation and make a plan on how you can still create a safe environment for your children.

For the children, it is more gentle that each parent focuses on their own parenting and limits the contact, rather than being exposed to an ongoing conflict. That means that you should keep the communication to a minimum and that each of you is responsible for their own home.

Plan and limit your communication

Choose distanced and structured ways of communicating by having established and predictable channels of contact. A particular communication channel such as the Varannan Vecka-app is often great. There you can create specific threads with templates and predetermined titles and set times to facilitate communication.

Invite a third party to “cool down” your communication

If direct contact is too difficult, perhaps a relative can act as an information carrier. If the conflict is intense, contact should be kept to a minimum. Let your child’s transitions between your homes happen without seeing each other and think about whether there are other situations that trigger arguments or estrangement. Can they be avoided?

Sharing information is still important

Even though your parenting styles may be parallel, it’s important to keep each other informed of what the child is doing and how they are feeling. Show the child that there is a connection between your two worlds by commenting on what you know about the other parent’s life. But, don’t interrogate the child about the other parent, and avoid fishing for or amplifying negative experiences. Instead, focus on strengthening the child.

Avoid escalating the conflict by planning your child’s contact with coparent

Sometimes a child’s contact with their other parent when they are with you can increase conflicts, create discomfort or negatively affect the atmosphere in your home. In this case, that contact should be limited or regulated. Agree that the child can contact the coparent at specific times and if the child don’t feel good about the contact, you should avoid it altogether. You should also be prepared to do the same when the child is with the other parent.

It is a must to focus on your own behavior

No matter how hard it may be, parallel parenting requires you to let go of what’s happening with the other parent, even if your trust is lacking. It can be difficult to accept that you can’t influence how your child is doing. Strengthen your child’s own ability to manage their situation and maintain the trust between you by making sure you have a good relationship. You can make it easier for your child by influencing what you can control, that is, your and your child’s life when you’re together.

Think “right now”

When parental cooperation is difficult, it is extra important to try to keep the words right now in mind. Perhaps parallel relationships is what works for now and some time ahead. It may also be that the your cooperation around the children will improve. Keeping an open mind gives us better chances to make a change in the future.


  • It is better to arrange parallel parenting and reduce conflicts than to constantly argue in a non-functioning partnership.
  • Choose distant and structured ways to communicate by having defined and predictable channels for contact.
  • Seek help from a third party if the contact is especially infected.
  • In order to spare the child, it may be important to organize the child’s contact with the parent they do not currently live with.
  • You make it easier for the child by influencing what you can control, that is, your and your child’s life with you. Not your coparents behavior or parenting.
Malin Bergström
Child psychologist