Co-parenting after divorce can be a challenge. That said, when parents continue to be active participants in their child’s life and are respectful of each other, the arrangement can benefit everyone. To make the situation easier, parents can set some healthy boundaries.
If you are unsure how to do this or where to start when it comes to co-parenting boundaries, you are not alone. Many parents struggle with this transition. However, focusing on a few areas can help you get started.
Setting rules for custody exchanges
Exchanging custody can be the most common situation where parents will want to set boundaries. Some ways to do this include:
- Agreeing not to enter each other’s homes
- Scheduling exchanges for school or daycare pickup and drop off
- Making sure your child is ready and has everything they need
- Being on time
- Refraining from any discussions that could trigger disputes
These and similar rules can make exchanges more peaceful and predictable.
Communicating with each other effectively
Not all forms of communication are equal. Some people best express themselves in writing; others prefer face-to-face conversations.
When it comes to communicating after divorce, parents may want to keep their conversations in writing. This allows individuals to edit their thoughts before sending, and there are programs that can detect tone and create records of online exchanges, which can be very helpful.
Setting boundaries for how parents communicate – at least at first or until they are amicable – can prevent unnecessary conflict.
Navigating parenting strategies
Depending on the relationship between parents, establishing a framework for parenting strategies can be crucial.
For example, parents can determine whether they want to take the same approaches to things like discipline and parenting styles. Knowing what the other parent will or will not do can help parents manage their expectations and help their children adjust to living in two different households.
Co-parenting after divorce may not be easy; it may not be something either parent ever imagined doing. However, setting boundaries can help guide parents through this unfamiliar territory.