Setting boundaries with a co-parent can take your relationship from high conflict to low maintenance. Try these strategies for more effective parenting.
An ideal co-parenting relationship puts the child first. It removes hard feelings from the equation completely and promotes growth, communication, and cooperation. For many co-parents, however, such an arrangement is out of reach.
Many divorced parents cannot see eye to eye on childcare issues, or worse, can’t separate their personal feelings for their co-parent from their role as a caretaker. When this is the case, it’s time to set clear boundaries so that the child can grow up without being exposed to high-conflict situations.
These five strategies may help you set boundaries with your co-parent so you can raise your child in a more peaceful environment.
Setting Boundaries with a Co-Parent, Simplified
- Parallel Parenting
- Use Technology to Communicate
- Make Emotional Boundaries Clear
- Get Support
- Stick to the Parenting Plan
Let’s look at each of these strategies in more detail.
1. Parallel Parenting
Parallel parenting is a co-parenting strategy that adds extra boundaries where they are needed. Co-parenting requires a certain level of communication, but open communication can lead to conflict. If you want to reduce conflict, parallel parenting can help you reduce your communication with your child’s other parent to only what is essential for their most important needs.
2. Use Technology to Communicate
Whether your communication with your co-parent remains open or you decide to try parallel parenting, it is usually a good idea to use written communication as much as possible. Technology such as messaging apps, email, and shared online calendars can help you and your co-parent communicate effectively without risking the conflicts that happen when you speak on the phone or face to face.
3. Make Emotional Boundaries Clear
Ending a relationship comes with all sorts of confusing, conflicting emotions. A part of you may still have feelings for your co-parent, even if you know that any relationship short of your parenting responsibilities is doomed to fail. Setting emotional boundaries—with yourself and your co-parent—will help you keep your focus on your child’s well-being.
4. Get Support
With all these emotions bouncing around in your head, you need to make sure you have someone to talk to about them. Talk to friends, family—whoever you have in your support system who can offer you support. If you can, talk to a professional therapist or counselor. Sorting out your emotions will help you provide your child with a good growing-up experience.
5. Stick to the Parenting Plan
When all else fails, your parenting plan is there to guide you. Your parenting plan will help you make decisions, resolve conflict, and maintain boundaries with your co-parent.
Setting boundaries with a co-parent doesn’t always work. Explore your legal options.
It’s not always possible to have a healthy, cooperative relationship with your co-parent. If you feel unhappy about a past court decision about your child custody arrangement and want to explore what, if any, options you have, get in touch with me today. I am more than happy to discuss your case.