After your divorce, you and your ex need to learn to co-parent together. It’s important to set co-parenting boundaries so you both can move on & start over.
Co-Parenting Boundaries You Want To Set
How to Establish Co-Parenting Boundaries that Involve Your Ex, without Your Ex Being Too Involved in Your New Family
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Set Co-Parenting Ground Rules
After your divorce, if you have children, they will need and want to have both parents as part of their lives. They will want both mom and dad at their school activities, sporting events, and even when they are grown, at graduations and weddings. Including your Ex in your children’s lives while co-parenting and setting boundaries with your family’s life takes some work, but can be done. One of the coparenting ground rules and how to establish co-parenting boundaries with your ex is to set boundaries so that you can both be involved with the kids’ lives, but yet move on with yours (and keep everything else separate).
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How to Have Successful Communication with Coparent
Have regular communication with your Ex. Check in with him or her once a week, if needed. Discuss and talk about issues that pertain to the kids. This can be done over the phone or by email. It should never be handled during pick up or drop off times.
Not only that, but it should be in a place so the children cannot hear so it can be open and honest.
Co-parenting communication, for the most part, doesn’t need to be more than this unless there are extenuating circumstances (special needs children, illnesses…) or emergencies. There shouldn’t be daily conversations that disrupt time with your family or become intrusive in your new relationship, should you have one.
Establish a Businesslike Relationship with Your Ex
You don’t have to become friends with your Ex in order to make things work. When talking with your Ex, avoid past hurts and issues and focus on information about your children. Think about how you would deal with the situation as if you were dealing with a coworker. Communicate directly with your Ex. Don’t make your children the go-between.
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Include your Ex in your Child’s Activities
In establishing co-parenting boundaries you need to remember that your kids love both of you equally. Co-parenting communication is important to your children because they want to have both parents at all of their milestone activities. Remember that the priority is your child. Let your Ex know about school functions, extracurricular activities, and special events that benefit your child. Be sure to let them know about these events as soon as you find out about them. This allows your Ex time to make arrangements to be there.
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For smaller children, a great way to use your co-parenting communication skills to communicate through a notebook. Each parent can write down important information that the other needs to know. Make sure the other parent is aware of and agrees to this method. Don’t make your child be responsible for giving it to the other parent.
Another option is to use a joint calendaring system (possibly through an app) so both parents can add events and activities. That way, no one is left out of the loop about what is happening in the child’s life.
Be Supportive of the Other Parent’s Role in Your Children’s Lives
We establishing co-parenting boundaries remember that it is all about the kids. So, speak positively about your Ex to your children. Try to look at him/her through your children’s eyes. They see the positive side of their parent. Your Ex may not have been a good partner, but he may be a great dad or she may be a great mother. Encourage a relationship between your children and your Ex. This is another important co-parenting ground rule to remember.
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Set Co-Parenting Boundaries
It isn’t necessary for your Ex to know all the details about your new life. Neither is it necessary for you to know the details of your Ex’s life.
Establish co-parenting boundaries around what you will talk about with your Ex. Keep conversations focused on information about your children. There might be some overlap when it comes to talking about things like vacations and coordinating plans, but for the most part, communication with your Ex only needs to be about your children, not your or his family.
Separate is Okay
Co-parenting doesn’t mean you need to do everything together. Some activities and events are okay to do separately. Birthdays are one activity that can be separate. There can be a birthday party with mom and a birthday party with dad. Make a plan as to who will spend the actual birthday with your child, and switch each year if possible. Of course, if your child wants both parents at their birthday party with friends, try to make this happen! Holidays can also be separate. Make a plan where your children will spend each holiday and how you will share time.
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Keep in mind that you and your Ex and your families will change and grow, so be prepared to make changes over time. Be flexible and communicate about your children’s needs. Planning some things as separate family time is good and healthy for your children and your family.
Ensuring your children are the priority as you strive to include your Ex in their lives will help focus on what is important and make it easier to include your Ex in their various activities. One of the best co-parenting ground rules to stick to is to keep your kids as the priority. Following these steps will help you keep a healthy separation and minimize the impact your Ex can have on you and your family’s lives while including him or her in your children’s lives.
Successful Co-Parenting Strategies
Here are a few more successful co-parenting strategies that will help both you and your ex navigate this new way of parenting.
Be consistent – Don’t forget this is a new experience for your kids too. They do best when their routine is the same at both mom and dad’s house.
Talk positively about your ex – Give your ex the benefit the doubt when an issue comes up. Don’t throw him or her under the bus when they disappoint you or your kids, and especially don’t do it in front of your kids. They love both of you. This leads us to one of the most important of the successful co-parenting strategies,
Communicate – Didn’t I already talk about this earlier? I did, but you both need to learn how to talk to and listen to each other. Don’t use the kids as a messenger, it’s not fair to them.
I think one of the most forgotten of the co-parenting strategies, is YOU. When your kids go to visit your ex, do something special for YOU!
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Eveliina is an intern currently working with us! She is on her way to getting her degree in Marriage and Family Studies! Eveliina is a wife, a mom, and a grandma. She loves every moment of life. She also has a love for photography and reading!