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The challenges of co-parenting with a narcissist

On Behalf of | Jun 16, 2022 | Child Custody |

Successful co-parenting requires a delicate balance of cooperation and communication. Co-parenting with a narcissist, however, is even more complicated, as some parents in Illinois discover when they try to work with a narcissistic parent for the sake of their children. Narcissistic parents often focus on their own emotional needs and desires rather than on their children’s best interests, and helping the children deal with this becomes a necessity for the non-narcissistic parent.

A parenting plan to make co-parenting work

Making co-parenting work with a narcissist is all about the details. Creating a detailed parenting plan that addresses a variety of issues and anticipates any possible conflicts and how to resolve them can help people successfully raise their child with a narcissistic co-parent. Some of the details that can be included in the parenting plan include:

  • A parenting schedule that states when the children will be with each parent
  • A special schedule for summer and other holidays
  • How, when and where exchanges will take place
  • Rules to follow in each home
  • Methods of communication between the parents
  • Tools for solving parenting conflicts

Challenges to expect when co-parenting with a narcissist

Because narcissists are more focused on what they want and need, there are some challenges that their co-parents, and by extension their children, will encounter. This means that the children can be emotionally affected by a narcissistic parent, particularly when they are alone with that parent. Some of the challenges include the narcissistic parent’s emotional manipulation of the children, bullying behavior, lying and controlling actions.

Parents who must co-parent with a narcissist must also teach their children how to deal with the negative behavior. They also need to show support for their children, give them an outlet to speak about and work through their feelings and teach their children how to set boundaries when they are with the narcissistic parent.