Can two friends raise a child? (Tips on platonic parenting)

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can two friends raise a child? We offer you a comprehensive guide on platonic parenting and any parents keys to success.

Can two friends raise a child?

Two friends can raise a child if they decide so and if they come to a reasonable agreement. Even so, this is considered a new style of parenting that attracts more and more young people by the day.

Being a parent is a wish of many people, especially when they reach an age when they feel that they have achieved professional success and have achieved their goals.

However, for many, the idea of finding a partner, getting married or living together to build a family is not something feasible. This requires sacrifices, time, effort and resources that some are unwilling to grant.

Amid this dilemma, a new family trend emerged: platonic parenting, which implies having children among friends or acquaintances and sharing custody of the children, but without the obligation to be a couple. The difference with sperm donors is that here dads are part of their children’s lives, they share time and live in a relationship with them.

In the United States, Modamily is a popular web platform that helps people who want to have children to get together to do so. This platform appeared in 2011 when Ivan Fatovic realized that many of his friends and colleagues were interested in having children and starting a family but did not have a partner to do it with.

Today the platform has 25,000 active members from all over the world and, according to the organization’s data, an estimated 100 babies were born from the pairings on the web. This trend has been increasing, especially due to new conceptions of the family. But many believe that it is the same as being the children of divorced parents.

The traditional format of the family structure, based on the figure of a father and mother united under marriage, has given way to other possible configurations. The new shared scenario generated by the separations, the parental foundations made up of people of the same gender or those who, by their own decision, is made up of a single individual are no longer news for the majority. 

Another increasingly chosen alternative is platonic or shared upbringing which, although it differs from the previous realities, shares certain traits with some of them.

Two friends raising a child: A common project without sentimental ties

Everything starts from the figure of two referents united by a common project and not by a loving relationship. Said conception, as it does not depend on a previous sentimental bond, has a less restrictive character, offering the opportunity to embark on parenthood without the need to go much beyond the friendship and complicity between both parties.

Any common initiative implies, yes, some kind of prior bond. And when we talk about the education of a child, it becomes essential, entering the scene as necessary issues such as understanding, empathy or affection. Every element of union between the parties is useful in a process full of beautiful moments, but also obstacles that put us to the test every day.

We can say, therefore, that platonic parenting is similar to that shared after the end of coexistence, in which the parents distribute, in one way or another, the time of custody of the children. On the other hand, since it has nothing to do with the gender or sexual orientation of the interested parties, this parental structure could be made up of subjects of both genders.

Platonic parenting on social media

Some social networks have promoted the distribution of this alternative conception of fatherhood. Although it could arise from a prolonged personal friendship, the virtual context has become another means through which to find someone like-minded with whom to undertake such a challenge. 

Among the many applications to find a partner, others specialized in connecting with people with whom the way of raising a child is shared have emerged.

In this way, platforms such as Modamily, FamilyByDesign or CoParents have specialized in this aspect, putting users in contact with the sole purpose of sharing the raising of a child. 

Is platonic parenting better or worse than other options?

Many critical voices have been raised against this type of initiative. From the most conservative sectors in this regard, with a traditional concept of what a family should be, to those who justify their rejection for various reasons. 

One of the most widespread arguments doubts that it is beneficial for children to grow up without appreciating a romantic relationship between their parents.

Rachel Hope, author of the book Family By Choice: Platonic Partnered Parenting, a comprehensive guide on how to deal with a platonic parenting project, believes that this objection is unfounded. According to her, there doesn’t need to be love between the paternal references since their children can observe that kind of ties in other people or, when the case occurs, between their parents and their respective partners.

In either case, what a child needs is affection, regardless of other superfluous external factors. What does it matter if it comes from two fathers, two mothers, or two friends engaged in a common project? What is truly relevant is your well-being, based on care, care and education that help you grow healthily.

Children need their parents to be happy, not together

Many parents choose to stay together “for the good of their children“, although in some cases, especially when conflicts and arguments cannot be avoided, the most beneficial option for all could be an amicable separation.

And this is an argument valid for the case of platonic parenthood also. Children want their parents to be happy, rather than forced to stay together for their sake.

The separation of the parents always implies a great change for the child, so it is understandable that he feels sad and misses the father/mother who leaves home. The world as the little one knew it no longer exists and he will have to get used to new routines. If the child has to change homes or schools, the challenge he faces will be even greater.

However, that does not mean that a divorce will always lead to childhood trauma. Neither does it mean that two people should remain together for the sake of their child. In fact, in many cases, it is preferable for parents to separate than to continue arguing at home, in an environment where there is no longer love or understanding.

The real problem is not the separation, but the way it is handled. When parents cope well with separation, it becomes a life experience for children that can help them better manage their conflicts in the future.

Preschool children, on the other hand, tend to feel guilty whenever they notice that their parents are angry, considering themselves responsible for the violence. In such cases, children are likely to react with irritability, fear, restlessness, and suffer from somatic symptoms.

School-age children tend to be more ambivalent in these situations. On the one hand, they want to hide what happens inside their home, but on the other they also want someone to discover it so that they can “rescue” them and get them out of a situation that can become unbearable. It is also common for them to feel guilty, thinking that they could have prevented the violence.

In any case, arguing, yelling and violence within the home disturb the development of children’s self-esteem and undermine their confidence in the future, preventing them from developing a secure attachment. That is the reason why children do not need their parents to be together, but to be happy.

Happy parents can meet their children’s emotional needs and provide a nurturing environment where they feel safe to grow. It is likely that at the beginning the child will have a hard time assimilating the separation, but if he sees that his parents are happier and that he can live with both in a healthy environment without fights, in the long run, he will feel much better.

Any parent’s keys to success

Although there are no perfect parents, only human beings who put all their effort into doing things right, there are certain rules of life – according to psychologist experts – that help parents to be more successful:

  • Parents must influence their children and be a figure worthy of admiration. Therefore, you have to offer them consistency in behaviour. Adults should feel what they say, say what they think, and act accordingly.
  • The relationship must be based on trust. “My son trusts me, I trust him.” When that trust is not betrayed, a strong bond is created. Without trust, there is no friendship.
  • Trust is based on respect, not only from the son towards the father but also from the father towards the son.
  • More than blood ties, family relationships are based on ties of affection. Affection is built through time and shared experiences.
  • When the parent-child bond is strong and two-way, fluid and authentic communication emerges.
  • A warm and friendly relationship implies that parents have an open spirit: today’s world is different from that of our childhood and youth. It is full of new values, desires and dangers. We must face the new times without judging beforehand.
  • It is not enough to give them things, it is necessary to offer them something of ourselves: pass on experiences, confide in them, tell them the story of our family so they know where we come from, ask for their opinion and help; acknowledge to them our mistakes and constructively correct their faults.
  • We must always be willing to respect their privacy and silences, without trying to force communication.
  • Something fundamental: It is necessary to respect the individualities of each of the children.

The most important things to remember 

In this article, we tried to understand whether can two friends raise a child and if this new style of parenting can be successful or not. 

Truth is, the world is changing, and we do not see why two people who feel that they could do a great job of raising a child together without being romantically involved, should not do it.

A child needs unconditional love, support and understanding. If the two friends can offer the child exactly what he needs in order to become a happy and healthy adult, then we should not be against platonic parenting.

What do you think about two friends raising a child? We’d like to know your opinion, so do not hesitate to let us know if you have any comments or questions!

FAQ on Can two friends raise a child?

What is platonic parenting?

Platonic parenting is a concept which describes two people who decide to have and raise a child tougher, although they are not romantically involved. 

Do children do better with both parents?

On average, yes children do better with both parents. However, this depends a great deal on the quality of the parent’s relationship. Children can feel guilty, angry and unloved if their two parents are in turn aggressive with each other, do not love or understand each other. 

Can you co-parent with a friend?

Yes, you can co-parent with a friend. This is also known as platonic parenting, which implies having children among friends or acquaintances and sharing custody of the children, but without the obligation to be a couple.

Can single parents raise a child just as well as two parents?

Yes, single parents can raise a child just as well as two parents. These children can be as happy and as mentally healthy as children raised by two parents. Children need nurture, education, unconditional love and understanding – even if it’s offered only by one parent. 


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