Divorce and co-parenting is very challenging for parents. If you are finding that co-parenting is stressful or leaving you with feelings of exhaustion and resentment, don’t worry, you’re not alone! But this may be a sign that you need some help.
When I first started co-parenting with my ex-husband it was very challenging. My children live with me 99 percent of the time including summer vacations, holidays, fall breaks ect.. My ex husband gets them a few days a month. Therefore, he never really felt responsible for our children. He would pick and choose when he wanted to see the kids and would just show up when it ever it was convenient for him.
In the beginning I would accommodate him, but quickly realized I was doing both me and our children a huge disfavor. I started setting some boundaries for our coparenting relationship. And found them useful and have saved me from frustration, resentment and stress.
So… what’s the secret to a successful co-parenting relationship, mamas? Boundaries!
Boundaries make co-parenting so much better. Setting healthy Boundaries in co-parenting is a way to respect both parent’s time, energy and privacy while parents work together to cooperatively raise their children after divorce or separation. Boundaries create realistic expectations so that each parent can successfully step into their co-parenting role to maintain balance and harmony within the relationship. Below are five healthy co-parenting boundaries you should maintain for a successful co-parenting relationship.
1.Have a parenting schedule & Stick to it
Mamas please make sure you have a carefully written parenting plan. Your parenting plan needs to be clear and precise with no room for misunderstanding. It needs to cover time, date, holidays, vacation and emergency protocols. It is important to respect your co-parents time by arriving for pick-ups/drop-offs on time, not planning activities during your co-parent's time, and making sure that the kids are available for their video calls when necessary. If modifications to the schedule are needed, try to give plenty of notice so your co-parent is not caught off guard.
2.Use effective methods of communication
Using a method or several effective methods to that you both agree on to communicate the children' needs is important. The tone of the messages should be formal, child centered and friendly. I know it can be challenging but try using “I statements” rather than accusations. It is best to use solution based approach when dealing with issues. And definitely do not use your child as a communication method.
3.Be supportive of your co- parent’s role in your child’s life
Do the best you can to be supportive of your co-parent's role in your child's life. If you can, include him in events in your child’s schedule, like dance recitals basketball games ect. Share inside info on what’s going on with your child that your co-parent may have missed during your parenting time. such as letting them know if the child's diet has changed, or if a new toy is needed for her to fall asleep, you get my point. Being a supportive co-parent benefits your child and create a positive dynamic in your relationship with your co-parent.
4. Keep your child out of conflict
Children do not need to be in the middle of adult issues. Adult topics should only be between you and your coparent. It is important to adopt a positive standard when speaking a your ex to your children. Children self-identify with both you and their dad, do not speak negatively to them of their him. Do not jeopardize your child’s self-worth speaking poorly of their dad.
5. Always stick to business, zero personal stuff
And last but no least to have an effective co parenting relationship. It is absolutely vital for you and your co-parent to communicate as you would with a business colleague. Keep the intimate details of each other’s personal lives out of the relationship and stay child focus. In order to move forward toward a healthy co-parenting relationship, the expectations, assumptions and informality of the former intimate relationship can no longer exist. Keep your personal life to your self. I am speaking from personal experience here, it does not matter how comfortable you are with one another. Stick to business!
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