When it comes to transitioning from a romantic relationship to a co-parenting one, it will be essential to establish communication boundaries. Boundaries create a clear line of communication to reduce unnecessary discord and improve productive communication in order to meet the needs of the children.
Even if you have been co-parenting for years, it’s never too late to set new boundaries for inner peace and privacy.
While the high-conflict co-parent may not like your boundaries, as long as you are meeting the children’s needs, then continue to uphold them. They may attempt to message you outside of your boundaries and provoke you, but it will be up to you to maintain your boundaries for inner peace.
Here Are 5 Must-Have Boundaries You’ll Need With Your Co-Parent:
1. Choose A Platform - Email or Co-parenting App
It's important to establish a consistent platform of communication with your co-parent. You may choose email, a co-parenting app, or any other platform that works for you both. However, we highly recommend getting off text message because this gives them too much access to you and often increases discord. It also keeps the emotional attachment intact versus creating distance in the communication.
It will be important to stick with one platform for communication to avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and manipulation. A co-parent who switches from one app to another does this so there is an inconsistent flow of decision-making and communication back and forth. In the long term, it makes it challenging to keep track of decision-making if you have to scroll through emails and text messages to find what was agreed upon. Additionally, if you ever have to court having a consistent thread of communication is ideal.
2. Pick Two Days A Week To Communicate
Agree to two specific days a week for when you will communicate with your co-parent. By doing so, it's easier to manage your time and ensure that you are available to discuss important matters. This also assists with planning ahead which helps reduce distress.
When you don’t set specific days your co-parent may attempt to communicate every day to disrupt your life. Receiving distressing messages daily doesn’t allow you to heal and create peace in your own life. Even if your co-parent messages outside of the two decided-upon days, it will be up to you to hold your boundaries. Of course, in the case of emergencies or pick-up/drop-off adjustments then you may communicate outside of your specified days.
3. Keep It Child-Centered
When communicating with your co-parent, it's important to keep the conversation child-centered. Focus on the children's needs and how you can work together to provide the best possible solutions and care for them.
Avoid discussing personal or unrelated matters that can lead to conflict. When you and your co-parent discuss personal matters or unresolved marital issues this keeps the emotional bond intact and makes it challenging to move forward and focus solely on the kids.
4. Disengage From Power Struggles
Power struggles can be harmful to the co-parenting relationship and can negatively affect the children. It's important to disengage from power struggles and focus on the bigger picture - the well-being of the children.
You can simply use phrases like, “This conversation is no longer productive. I’m going to disengage now” or “I will not respond to false accusations” or "It seems we see this very differently"
5. Outline Messages By Subject Matter
When communicating with your co-parent, it's helpful to outline your messages by subject matter. This can help you stay organized and ensure that you cover all the necessary topics. It also helps to keep the conversation focused and productive.
Outlining an email or a message on an app may include, but are not limited to medical, education, activities, clothing, nutrition, events and birthday parties, and holiday or vacation scheduling. Every email or message may vary depending on what is presently occurring in the child's life.
By following these five communication boundaries, you can establish a healthy co-parenting relationship that benefits both you and your children. Need additional assistance in establishing co-parenting boundaries? Check out our online Collaborative Coparenting Course or schedule a consult today.