Creating Healthy Boundaries in Co-Parenting
What are boundaries?
A quick summary of the boundaries described by Therapist Aid:
How you determine your boundaries?
When you feel disrespected, offended, or just plain uncomfortable with the other person's actions, it may be because they have crossed a boundary for you. No one can understand your boundaries unless you communicate them.
Treat it like a business (boss). It helps many co-parents to think of the endeavor, like a business relationship.
Other boundaries co-parents, like Michelle from Confessions of Parenting, find helpful for maintaining a successful co-parenting relationship include:
Do I have the right to know what my child is doing while they are visiting their other parent? The reality is that your ex or co-parent isn’t required to tell you anything about what he or she and the children do unless the court order or visitation agreement specifically requires it.
Set Reasonable Co-Parenting Rules
First, try communicating with your ex about your concerns. You can’t always believe everything your children tell you. Send email/text (not in person, if things are too emotional)
Setting Boundaries with a High Conflict Co-Parent
Ending a relationship with a partner who is prone to conflict can be challenging on many levels. If you have children, one of the most significant difficulties will be figuring out how to build a working relationship as co-parents.
Commit to the Parenting Plan
In a high conflict co-parenting situation, agreeing on a parenting plan will take a good deal of effort.
Consider Parallel Parenting
When your co-parent isn't willing to cooperate, and communication is difficult, parallel parenting may be an excellent approach to take. Parallel parenting is co-parenting but with added boundaries. One of these boundaries will be to disconnect from your co-parent on a certain level by not communicating directly with each other. In parallel parenting, you may find that you implement a rather specific parenting plan.
Tools for Parallel Parenting Communication
Keep Your Personal Life Private
You must set some emotional boundaries to protect yourself from getting hurt. One way to keep your emotions in check when it comes to your co-parent is to keep your personal life to yourself.
Watch Out For Pitfalls
As you do what you can to set boundaries between your co-parent and your personal life, you should also do the same when it comes to the other parent and their life.
Talk to Someone
Getting through a divorce or separation with a high conflict partner isn't something you can easily do on your own.