Category Archives: Parallel Parenting Education

Effects Of Divorce On Children

Stop Your Conflict From Negatively Affecting Your Children

Parents often worry that their children will negatively suffer from a divorce or family breakup.  However, researchers have found that it’s actually not the divorce in and of itself that makes kids suffer; it’s the ongoing conflict that parents engage in that causes children to act out, misbehave, withdraw, and disengage from their family unit.

When both parents are distracted by fighting, the ongoing conflict can create permanent problems for children.


  • Feel pain 100 percent more than adults feel it;
  • Experience all emotions at more intense levels than adults;
  • Become overwhelmed with the trauma of conflict and often go numb or act out;
  • Attempt to intervene in arguments in order to reduce their own anxiety;
  • Often feel useless, inadequate and depressed because they lack the ability to control their pain and end the conflict;
  • Believe their family life is chaotic, unpredictable, and very scary;
  • Often are unable to create solid emotional connections with either parent when in high conflict situations, along with distrust for all adults because they cannot get their needs met.

Conflict creates a very uncertain, uneasy environment for the family.  When parents are in conflict, it is difficult for them to calm down and focus on the children.  Conflict affects children because they experience higher levels of anger, sadness and worry because they cannot get reassurance from their parents that everything will be okay.

Children also have difficulty concentrating in school and are often unable to complete assignments.  They may withdraw from friends and not be emotionally present in school.

As parents in high conflict often just go through the motions, they become desensitized to their children and miss the fact that they are spiraling downward.  Both children and parents feel hopeless and inadequate because they cannot change their circumstances.  You can change that starting today, however, by following these simple tips to get back in control of your lives and to start saving your children from becoming permanently damaged:

  1. Stop trying to work with or “coparent” with the other parent starting immediately.  You have my permission to start disengaging from the fight and the other parent.  Trying to “coparent” always keeps you in the battle mindset.
  2. Take a “time-out” from communicating with the other parent.
  3. Every time you hear the other parent’s voice or see their face (in any form such as email, text, face to face, telephone calls or through another person, such as your attorney), you cannot calm down for approximately 72 hours.

This means each text will spin you out of control for 3 days.  Several texts with the other parent in one day and you will be out of control for a week.  You must stop responding to daily texts and phone calls in order to get calmed down and start focusing on your children.  Daily interaction with the other parent means that you are not emotionally available for your children.

This means each text will spin you out of control for 3 days.  Several texts with the other parent in one day and you will be out of control for a week.  You must stop responding to daily texts and phone calls in order to get calmed down and start focusing on your children.  Daily interaction with the other parent means that you are not emotionally available for your children.

  1. Begin organizing one simple activity with your children.  Involve them in the planning of the event together, which you will do over a period of time.
  2. When you involve your children in the planning and implementation stages of creating a simple activity together, your children will begin to feel important to you.  You will feel important to them too.  You cannot pay attention to your children when you are always engaged with the other parent because you are responding to their silly and upsetting gestures toward you.
  3. Give your children an opportunity to have a “voice” and a “vote” in the planning stages of the activity.  This will create positive anticipation in their mind and you will notice how quickly it calms you and your children down.
  4. The power of planning an activity together will generate more than positive anticipation for both of you.  It will also bring a closer connection to your children.
  5. When you “string out” the planning of the activity as well as set a date off into the future, you generate hope that both of you will be together for a long time since children feel that tomorrow is a long time away.
  6. You create a positive and healthy excitement between you two that has not existed since the conflict began.  (Adrenaline addiction can also be an excitement, but it is not positive or healthy) and it is due to the conflict not the children.
  7. Positive anticipation is one of the most magical concepts you can develop with your children.  You can end the conflict with your children almost immediately and you can protect your children from bad effects of divorce and ongoing conflict.  It is so simple that most people miss it.
  8. Planning activities and implementing them with your children over a long period of time will create a very close connection to your children.  It will also help you as a part to stop reacting to the other parent.  It is really an amazing opportunity and it works!
  9. As you create a powerful bond with your children the other parent may ramp up, trying to get you to reengage with them over silly and minor comments and actions.  You will begin to see this for what it is, and you will be able to stop responding to the other parent’s attempts to get you to play war with them.  This may not happen overnight, but you will notice it quickly.
  10. Planning activities together will give you and your children a chance to get your life and your family back the way you wanted before the conflict took things out of proportion.
  11. Activities you can plan together may be as simple as making breakfast together the next time you will be with the children on a weekend.  For example, discuss the ingredients you will need to get together for pancakes or eggs and bacon.  Write the ingredients down and plan on going to the store together to get the ingredients the next time you are together.  You want to “string out” the activities that will lead up to making breakfast together to get the maximum excitement from your children.  You will invite your children to participate in every part of the planning and implementation stages in order to get into their imagination and expand their sense of curiosity, wonder, and excitement about making breakfast together.  Any activity will work that you plan together.

I call this concept “Stringing Pearls with your Children.”  You can learn more about this concept by watching my videos on Stringing Pearls and reading more of the blogs that describe it.

Understand that you can string pearls with your children every day with the activities you normally do for them, but often parents do not realize that involving the children will connect you to them in a way that will immediately end your conflict.

More examples of ways you can “String Pearls with Your Children” include:

  1. Planning a picnic to a park in a few weeks;
  2. Building a club house together in the backyard which will take several weeks;
  3. Planning a birthday party which will be a month away;
  4. Planning a secret dinner for someone in the family that will happen several weeks away;
  5. Organizing the garage together to make room for crafts and supplies you will be making together;
  6. Setting up a corner in your home for their artwork, stories and awards;
  7. Decorating the children’s bedroom;
  8. Working together to create a “family business” that engages the children in talking about money, responsibility, planning, organizing, researching, and creating positive anticipation.

Get started right now ‑ think of something you want to do with your children.  Think of all of the activities that must be completed to create the event.  Then write them out and start engaging the children in the planning, researching and implementation stages of the event.  Go have fun and note what happens to your own excitement level with your children and your ability to disengage from the craziness of the fight!

Dr. Deena Stacer is an International Parent Educator for parents involved in child custody conflicts.  Parents can take online coparenting classes at  The courses can be taken online at any time 24/7.  Parents can spend time taking the courses online for as long as they want each time they login.  A certificate of attendance is available after the parent has attended the course.

Dr. Deena Stacer can be reached at or by calling 800-980-0434.

Parallel Parenting Takes Your Children Out of the Middle of Conflict (Part 1)

The biggest issues in a divorce or family breakup situation is coming to terms with parenting the children and removing them from the middle of the conflict – finding peace with the separation and being separate individuals again while maintaining a calm, peaceful family unit.

Up to this point in divorce or family breakup situations, the focus has been on coparenting the children together.  In a non-conflictual divorce, the new task is to decide how the children will be raised in two separate homes with similar rules and expectations.

In high conflict situations where two parents cannot be in the same room or carry on a conversation with each other, mutual agreements is nearly impossible and this conflict puts the children in the center of the fight.  These situations, where coparenting becomes conflictual, most often cause both parents to be emotionally unavailable for their children.  A new strategy needs to be implemented – Parallel Parenting.

What is Parallel Parenting?

Parallel Parenting means both parents follow their own rules on their own time as parents, without getting the other parent’s approval.  With Parallel Parenting, parents do not communicate with each other about minor issues concerning the children, such as bedtime, meal time and how the children manage the homework and school work on that parent’s time.  Important issues requiring decisions from both parents such as health, education, and safety of the children may need the help of a professional who will keep both parents focused on decision making related to the welfare of the children, even if the professional has to step in and make a recommendation.  High conflict couples often require a court order to solidify these decisions too.

Parallel parenting is the ability of each parent to create their own parenting style during the time the children are under their care.  Understanding the concept of Mom’’s World/Dad’s World means that what goes on in Mom’s World/Dad’s World is relevant in that world to the children.  The rules each parent makes are designed by the parent in charge.  When children say, “My Mom/Dad doesn’t make me do that when I am with them . . .” the parent can say, “That is in Mom’s/Dad’s World, but when you are with me, these are my rules.”  This eliminates discussion, fights, and keeps the children out of the middle.

Parallel Parenting provides:

  • Children the right to have a meaningful relationship with each of their parents;
  • Children the right to be removed from the middle of their parents’ conflicts; and
  • The parents the right to develop their own rules and beliefs for what they believe will provide a meaningful relationship with the children, without the other parent’s interference or disapproval.

In high conflict situations, practicing Parallel Parenting is in the best interests of the children.  Bedtime routines, homework rules, discipline, belief systems, traditions, etc. are no longer up for argument between the parents.  Each parent is making up their own rules, beliefs, decisions, and discipline for their children with the children.

Parallel Parenting Provides:

  • Little to no interaction between the parents;
  • Parents an opportunity to create their own parenting style with the children;
  • Each parent independence from the other parent’s approval and disapproval of them;
  • A specific, clear and extremely detailed child sharing plan that alleviates parental communication which leads to conflict;
  • Child sharing exchanges that are in neutral locations and occur after school, at daycare or after an extracurricular event so the children are not negatively anticipating their parents acting up.
  • Each parent the responsibility for getting their own information about the child’s grades, attendance, activities, school conferences and award ceremonies, rather than from each other.

Parallel Parenting is designed to reduce the interaction between the parents to negate conflict.  It allows each parent to focus on building a closer relationship with their children without the other parent demanding they comply with the other parent’s rules or parental demands.

Parallel parenting is a very powerful way to take your child out of the middle of the conflict between parents.  When you begin to Parallel Parent, you can calm down and start focusing on the children rather than keep trying to get the other parent to work with you.

Dr. Deena Stacer is an International Parent Educator for parents involved in child custody conflicts.  Parents can take online coparenting classes at The courses are available online 24/7.  Parents can spend time taking the courses online for as long as they want each time they log in.  A certificate of attendance is available after the parent has attended the course.

Dr. Deena Stacer can be reached at or by calling 800-980-0434.

Parallel Parenting for Parents In Conflict (Part 1)

Learn more about how parallel parenting works for parents who are in conflict over child sharing and child sharing issues.  Parallel Parenting is designed to help parents  to take their children out of the middle.

Parallel parenting is a style of coparenting which allows parents to reduce their communication with each other regarding the children. It gives each parent control over their own parenting time.

The parents do not consult each other about their daily routines, rules, or decisions regarding the children. Minor decisions about the children are made alone, without interacting with the other parent. All major decisions however, do require communication and agreement between both parents. You may need professional intervention for these issues for example, managing medication or major schooling issues.

Examples of parallel parenting

  • Separate worlds mean both parents individually contact coaches, teachers & extracurricular leaders.
  • Parents attend extracurricular events on their time, if there might be conflict at the event. While considering the impact of the conflict on the child.
  • Communication about academic performance takes place at separate school conferences.
  • Parents learn to let go of things they can’t change about the other parent. They let them parent their own way.

Click Here to Learn More about the Parents In Conflict Co-Parenting Course

© Deena L. Stacer, Ph.D.      All Rights Reserved. March 2012.

Do not duplicate this material without permission from Deena Stacer.  You may email a request for permission to share information or foward this link to the person you want to share material with.