Joint custody is the most common arrangement for child custody after divorce. This means that both parents share legal and physical custody of any children. Of course, ideally, you and your ex-spouse are able to come together for the sake of the children even if you are no longer able to sustain a marriage.
However, if you were unfortunate enough to marry and have children with a narcissist, this can be an extremely daunting prospect. It is important for your children to have contact with your ex-spouse, but you also need to protect yourself as well. In this situation, a parallel parenting arrangement is often superior to the traditional co-parenting one.
What is parallel parenting?
Parallel parenting involves both parents taking an active role in the life of the child, but not being in the same place at the same time. For instance, with a traditional co-parenting arrangement, both parents may show up in a show of support for their children at activities like sporting events, birthday parties or dance recitals.
With parallel parenting, both parents would not show up to these events. Rather, they would split involvement in the events so that both parents have equal time with the child but the parents do not see each other.
How can this help with narcissism?
Nobody can change your ex-spouse but him or herself. However, parallel parenting will allow you space so that you do not have to directly deal with your ex-spouse’s narcissism. In the event that your ex-spouse does end up getting help, there is a possibility for a parallel parenting situation to convert into a more traditional co-parenting one.