Parallel Parenting :: The New Alternative to Co-Parenting


Most girls have fantasies or visions of their future family. You know, with the perfect husband, two kids, the dog and the white picket fence. I was no exception, and I daydreamed about my perfect little family often. Then, life got in the way and parallel parenting became my reality.

Still Hopeful

At 31, I’m dating this great guy and we are in what I thought was a thriving relationship. Then, out of the blue he breaks up with me. No biggie, right? Like the legendary Gloria Gaynor says “I will survive.” Well, three days later I found out I was pregnant.  This was not my plan at all! Where was my perfect husband? My little dream house? My little picket fence?  Needless to say, I was bummed but I adjusted and started reading up on co-parenting, and a new dream formed. Now visions of a harmonious and loving co-parenting relationship danced thorough my head. I just knew that we were going to be these great, almost best friend-like co-parents and that everything would work out just fine. Until it didn’t.

A Dream Quickly Turned into a Nightmare

I experienced a rather lonely pregnancy because my child’s father was not around. He refused to even acknowledge her existence until she was born. There were many harsh words, a lot of sleepless nights and ruined fantasies. If it were not for my AMAZING village of loved ones and friends I would not have made it through. And now my beautiful baby girl is here, and reality is setting in. Not everyone will be able to have a great co-parenting relationship. Sometimes the reality of the situation is that two people cannot coexist peacefully, and I’ve to come to terms with that. So now my focus has shifted. Instead of co-parenting, I am now trying parallel parenting.

Parallel Parenting Explained

According to parenting expert, Dr. Edward Kruk, “Parallel parenting is an arrangement in which divorced parents are able to co-parent by means of disengaging from each other, and having limited direct contact, in situations where they have demonstrated that they are unable to communicate with each other in a respectful manner.” I have come to realize that if we (her father and I) limit the amount of contact we have with each other, we coexist a little more peacefully and it keeps arguments to a minimum. I’ve researched a few tips on parallel parenting that seem to alleviate a little stress and help keep interactions smooth.

  • Try to use technology to your advantage.

  • There are apps such as  AppClose that both parents can log into and schedule visits, leave messages, check appointments, keep a calendar for the child and even make requests. So if you are in a similar situation, I would highly recommend checking it out, as it is a lifesaver. 
  • Do not be afraid to go the legal route.

  • I know most people don’t want to go through the courts (child support) or get custody agreements, but sometimes getting things in black and white helps to keep both parties within their boundaries and know what rights they are entitled to.
  • Take it easy on yourself. 

  • I was really hard on myself for a while thinking that I wasn’t trying hard enough to be a successful co-parent. That if I were  a little nicer, or if I conceded to his wishes more, even when I didn’t agree, that it would work out. I have come to the harsh realization that nothing that I was doing was working. And our reality is that we are just not meant to have that type of parenting relationship. Once I learned to cope with this, it opened me up to more realistic and healthier expectations.

I didn’t write out this saga to garner any sympathy. This is simply my reality. Unfortunately, this is a growing issue that is becoming the reality for a lot of women these days. Gone are the white picket fence families and, therefore, situations like mine are slowly becoming the norm. I know that there are other women who may feel discouraged because they, too, cannot co-parent peacefully. I am here to tell you that it is not your fault, and you can still find a way to coexist in a way that will bring minimal stress to your parenting style and your child’s well being. Good luck, mamas, and stay strong!

Arrea’l D. Bishop

My pride and joy, Emmarie Grace



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Arrea'l is a giver of smiles, a lover of chocolate, a fan of sunsets but most importantly the mother to Emmarie Grace. During the day you can find her at Biloxi City Hall where she is the mayor's secretary, while at night her sole purpose is getting her kid bathed, fed and put down so that she can be in bed by 9pm (eh, it's a work in progress). In her spare time (what is that?), she likes to read trashy novels, compose terrible poetry and daydream about drinking margaritas. But if you ask her what is her most favorite thing to do in the world, her answer would be watching her mini-me discover all the amazing things that she can do and cherishing every single moment. If you'd like to contact this "fly by the seat of her pants" mama with any questions, comments, concerns or just plain encouragement, you can email her at


  1. That is a really good article Arrea’l. I like the way you aren’t whining about the situation and are doing your best to make the best out of it for Emmie (she is SO adorable!). My prayers are always with you. From personal experience I know how hard it can be to be a single parent. And you are blessed to have family, friends and your church to support you! Love you girl!

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