Hi! I'm Coach Franny, and I empower families with challenging children to come together as problem solving teams through a Mindful-Ish® approach to parenting.
Learning how to effectively co-parent is a challenging feat. Whether you and your ex-partner separated amicably or due to a conflict, navigating the intricate landscape of co-parenting and building a healthy environment for your children takes time and effort.
That said, co-parenting doesn’t have to feel like a never-ending battle. Healthy and Mindful-Ish® co-parenting boundaries can help you and your co-parent improve communication, prevent misunderstandings, and minimize conflicts. Here are seven boundaries for successful co-parenting relationships.
There are many advantages to setting clear boundaries between you and your co-parent.
Upholding consistent routines, rules, and expectations is key when navigating the complexities of shared custody.
It’s important to maintain a predictable schedule because it provides a reliable framework for your child’s life. Unexpected situations can arise, but well-defined co-parenting boundaries create a structure that minimizes confusion and reduces potential conflicts.
It’s normal to have disagreements when you’re co-parenting with an ex-partner, but it’s important to shield your children from conflicts that arise between adults. Badmouthing your ex-partner to your child or pointing out negative traits in your child and saying that they’re “just like their dad/mom” is inappropriate co-parenting.
Keeping children out of conflicts preserves their innocence and cultivates a sense of security, trust, and emotional stability. It can be hard to abstain from a snarky comment when you’re angry, but try seeing things in perspective and putting your child first.
Financial responsibilities are one of the areas that most frequently trigger high conflict in co-parenting.
Establishing and respecting boundaries around child support payments, educational expenses, and extracurricular activities fosters transparency, reduces conflict, and allows both parents to contribute to their child’s well-being meaningfully.
You can set up a meeting – or regular meetings – with your co-parent to go over your anticipated financial expenses and come up with a game plan. Once the boundaries are established, it’s important to respect them and not expect your co-parent to contribute more than their set share.
You and your co-parent may not agree on everything, but it’s important to respectfully communicate with your co-parent and try to understand where they’re coming from. Stay Mindful-Ish® of the fact that at the end of the day, you’re a team with one common goal – to raise healthy and happy children.
Practice active listening, using neutral language, and seeking compromises. Even when you feel differently, acknowledge your co-parent’s feelings and use statements such as, “I understand that this is difficult for you.” Focus on finding the solution instead of shifting the blame. If you can feel yourself getting angry, pause the conversation until you feel calmer.
Showing your co-parent that you value their time is an important part of a healthy co-parenting relationship. Come up with a parenting plan and stick to the schedule.
Being punctual about drop-offs and pick-ups, adhering to visitation schedules, and communicating any necessary adjustments in a timely manner create a cooperative atmosphere and teach your children to model this behavior and honor others’ time and commitments.
Navigating co-parenting can become more challenging if your ex-partner has entered into a new romantic relationship and their new partner becomes a part of your child’s life. Understandably, this can stir complicated feelings and make it more difficult to communicate.
Stay Mindful-Ish® and remember that you and your ex-partner share the responsibility of raising a child and your child’s well-being should take precedence over personal matters. Delving into each other’s personal lives can create unnecessary tension and distract from the primary goal of providing a stable and nurturing environment for your child.
Respect each other’s privacy and choices, as long as they don’t endanger your child.
You should never burden your child with the weighty task of choosing between parents. This is a healthy co-parenting boundary that you should establish both with your co-parent and with yourself. Asking a child to choose – including theoretically – places a real emotional burden on their shoulders, leading to feelings of guilt, confusion, or even resentment.
Co-parenting is most effective when both parents prioritize their child’s well-being over personal feelings. Focus on building a secure and stable foundation for your child to flourish, even when it’s personally difficult for you.
Co-parenting is a partnership, and partnerships always come with boundaries. Setting co-parenting boundaries early on can help you minimize conflict and provide the best environment for your child to grow loved, respected, and healthy.
Even if your ex-partner and you didn’t end your relationship on the best terms or have different parenting styles, you can still overcome challenges and become the best co-parents for your child. Take the Mindful-Ish Quiz® to learn what’s inside YOUR parenting playbook and get actionable steps for success.