5 Tips on How to Successfully Co-Parent with Boundaries

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Co-parenting with a difficult ex can be incredibly frustrating and draining. Everything from deciding where your child will attend school, to what is an appropriate bed time, to if their clothes match can be an uphill battle. Unfortunately, when you share custody of your children with your ex, you need to maintain communication with them, (avoiding will ultimately not help you or your child). So, what can you do? Set boundaries!  Setting boundaries will help to limit your frustration and, ultimately, only benefit your child’s future.  In this episode I will share 5 Tips to make coparenting easier by sharing boundaries you get to start setting today!

Episode Transcript


Hi everybody. And welcome to another episode of the divorce woman’s guide podcast. How are you doing? I hope that you guys are having an amazing start to your summer and the world is starting to come back to normal. I don’t know about you guys, but I am sure feeling a whole heck of a lot better now being able to go out and to.

[00:00:26] Feel like life is returning back to what we all once knew what to look like. But nonetheless, I wanted to come in and talk to you guys today about boundaries and this time as it relates to co-parenting. About two weeks ago, I talked to you guys about. Boundaries with our children. And today I want to start talking to you guys about them, with your exes.

[00:00:48] The reason seeing that a lot of times we forget that given our new relationship with our former spouse we get to change what that dynamic looks like. And instead of approaching the relationship from the lens of ex-wife, we get to approach or ex-husband, we get to approach that relationship now from the lens of mom or dad, And in order for us to do that, the best way that I have found, and that I see my clients have tremendous success with is through learning how to set boundaries.

[00:01:19]Listen guys, no matter what co-parenting and I actually, I will say that I do believe that parallel parenting is a form of co-parenting. So whether you are co-parenting or parallel parenting, You are still raising children together and it can be incredibly frustrating and draining.

[00:01:39] I get it. I co-parent myself with my two boys and have been for the last almost four years. So all of the decisions that we have made over those four years have been anything from deciding, what time is appropriate for bedtime. Pre and during COVID rights. And so my kids are not having to wake up at the crack of Dawn to attend school.

[00:02:01] They just roll out of bed and do zoom school or perhaps where it is that they are going to be attending school or, perhaps it even has to do with what it is that they’re being fed. Every, everything requires a decision and unfortunately, When you are sharing children, communication is inevitable.

[00:02:20] It just is. And avoiding it ultimately will not help your kids. It’s all about putting your kids in the center instead of putting them in the middle. And I get asked so many times, oh my gosh. How do I do this? I am so fed up. I don’t know what to do. I still have to talk to them. I don’t like talking to them.

[00:02:39] We used to talk on the phone now we email or we text. So the first thing that I always ask anyone about. Their relationship with their former partner, their former spouse is if they have boundaries, the reason being that at the end of the day, boundaries are what’s going to help you to limit your frustrations.

[00:03:00] It is going to help relieve anxiety. It is ultimately going to benefit, not just your future, but just even your kids your future potential relationship, also with your co-parent and. I’m really big on defining what words mean. And so whenever I talk about boundaries, I talk about them as rules or guidelines or limits that a person creates to identify reasonable and safe ways for other people to integrate age with you, to behave towards you and how oh it is that you will respond when someone crosses.

[00:03:36] Yeah. Those boundaries, those limits, those rules, those guidelines. And the first thing that I always say to describe it is, it’s about where is your dance space and where somebody else’s. And so those that line that you end up drawing could be flexible, but wherever it is in that particular moment, you get to set it with firm yet flexible.

[00:04:02] Guidelines. The way that I really try to describe to my clients as to whether or not a boundary has been crossed, is those times where you feel disrespected or perhaps you just get this like gut feeling inside of you or you’re just offended or you’re uncomfortable with somebody else’s actions.

[00:04:24] Anything like that means that there is a boundary being crossed. And the one thing that I will say is that, just because you have a boundary or perhaps you don’t have a boundary somewhere, you have to understand that other people may. So each of us has different boundaries and what is upsetting to you may be perfectly acceptable to somebody else.

[00:04:46] So the only way in which the other person, or even you for that matter is going to understand boundaries or other people’s boundaries is if you communicate with them, And so what I want to share with you guys today are some tips around how it is that you can start setting some boundaries. What are some boundaries that you guys get to start setting?

[00:05:08] And first and foremost is, I hear all the time. It actually just happened in the group, not, this must’ve just been last week where. Somebody had written a comment in the divorce rehab, Facebook group, all about how her ex-husband was being very vocal about her dating life and the people that she was dating.

[00:05:29] And, one of the first things that came to mind is actually, one of the things I want to share with you right now is I wondered if she had boundaries around information that she sets with her. Former spouse. And one of the most important boundaries that you get to start setting now that you are no longer in a marriage, is it is none of their business to know every single detail about your life.

[00:05:56] And that means it is also none of your business to know there’s. So the first co-parenting boundary that you get to set from the start is identifying the topics and even just what it is that you talk about with your former spouse and 9.9 times out of 10. That means that whole, you talk about. With your former spouse is your children.

[00:06:24] So the topic gets to always be around your kids and listen, don’t get me wrong. Sometimes there’s overlap when it comes to discussing plans or schedules, but I really would encourage you to avoid talking about, family members or other sensitive topics that you know, could lead to conflict. Now.

[00:06:43] Granted, I realize that you cannot control what your former spouse decides to bring up, but you do have a choice whether or not to take their bait to react. You have the choice to, to not respond if they’re bringing other topics. And, it’s happened to me before where my. Where my ex-husband actually starts going into all this detail.

[00:07:05] And sometimes I have to cut him off and say, I know you’re working through this in your mind, but I would appreciate if perhaps, you could work it out in your mind silently. And then just tell me what the answer is. And I’ve done that before, because I don’t need to know, what he’s doing or what his family’s thoughts are, anything like that.

[00:07:22] I just, Speaking about our kids to, get resolution and to come up with answers and to move things forward. So that’s number one. Number two, I, I always give this tip is that, approach your co-parenting relationship in a way where, it’s almost like it’s a business transaction, I hear all the time how everybody.

[00:07:41] It’s to be friends with their ex and that’s the only way that co-parenting can work or that they hoped that the co-parenting relationship was going to look different. And the one thing that I always say is that the more business, like you can keep your relationship from the start, the better chance you actually have of creating a stronger, better relationship with your co-parent.

[00:08:01] And so what does that mean? It means avoid talking about, personal stuff and just focus on your kids. So how would you deal with, or how would you approach a situation? If you were talking to a coworker. So I always encourage people to communicate with your ex in that way to remember and pretend that you’re at an office and, you take the emotion out and you approach it from a non-emotional place.

[00:08:28] The next thing that I always say is that, communication is important and. It, the timing of when communication happens is also important. And I say that because so many times I hear conversations happening between co-parents at drop off or pickup when the kids are right there. So I want to just encourage you guys to be conscious of your conversations, your tone, how it is that you’re speaking to your co-parent and perhaps there are certain topics that are offline.

[00:09:01] During those times when your kids are around. And I’m not saying don’t communicate. I understand that at times, listen, there’ve been times where, you know, my ex husband and I have needed to, talk at pick-up or drop-off. And I always tell my boys to close the door. I’d ask them to go to another room.

[00:09:17]And I get to do that because those are my boundaries and they get to understand and respect the fact that their father, sometime their father. And I sometimes have stuff that we get to talk about without them. And one of the key things, when you are communicating with your co-parent is to learn not only how to talk to each other, but how to listen listening.

[00:09:37] You guys is so incredibly important because a lot of times we hear things that the other person is not intending and vice. Versa. And so unless there is a conversation that, is absolutely necessary to happen in person, I’m going to encourage you guys to either, use it for another time on the phone or an email or texting, depending upon what method of communication works.

[00:10:05] But that’s also part of this, regular communication is also deciding what gets talked about. When and where, so in the beginning of my co-parenting relationship, the, we predominantly communicated via email, unless it was something urgent, it was text, phone was too difficult. And so we kept it to email.

[00:10:26] And we also, oh, and the other thing that we also did was we joined a co-parenting app. And we actually have, since then, To just using a joint Google calendar, but I really encourage you guys to consider using an app for your communication because it’s one place. It’s also something that doesn’t always have to ding your phone.

[00:10:47] I know a lot of people get triggered when they hear either the specific ding for their former spouse. Or if they just hear a ding in general perhaps using an app is going to be a better way for you guys to communicate and also to take care of yourself at the same time. But nonetheless, being able to have a shared calendar and a shared place where you’re communicating enables you guys to know what the kids’ schedules are and it minimize it.

[00:11:13] Your risk of conflict especially, how many of you guys have forgotten to tell somebody about an event? I know I haven’t been guilty of that and I just go, oh my God, I can’t believe I just did that. But oops, sorry. We’re human beings. And at the time it had really reduced the risk and it was really helpful.

[00:11:29]Same thing goes with custody schedules, super, super helpful. A couple of other additional things that I just want to share with you guys is, sometimes, and I used to do this, like I would get tempted to just have my kids communicate to their dad something. And I realized that even though it felt pretty harmless it was still putting them in the middle.

[00:11:47] So ensure that you guys are communicating directly and not through your children. It’s really important that you keep your kids out of your relationship with your former spouse and that you guys create a new relationship between the two of you guys. Without your kids remember that is their mom or dad.

[00:12:04] And for you, this is also a mom or dad. It’s not, your former spouse. I would also encourage you guys to watch what it is that you’re saying about your acts around your children. So many times I, we’re human. There were times where I just would slip and sometimes I’d go, oh my God, I cannot believe that just came out of my mouth.

[00:12:24]And you get to handle that with your kids and take responsibility. It’s super important. And one of the things that I’ve actually gotten a lot better at doing, and, I know that a lot of my clients struggle with that. Is giving your co-parent the benefit of the doubt if an issue arises. So making sure that you’re not initially throwing them under the bus and especially as it relates to doing it around your kids, it’s really important that you take a breath, you bite your tongue, you don’t say anything because it’s not fair that your kids feel like they are.

[00:12:54] Being put in the middle on, if, for example, somebody fails to come through or forget something. It’s just really important for you guys to remember that as it is that you are navigating this new relationship and it’s super important for anybody and everybody to understand that, it does take some time.

[00:13:14] It does take some it does take some practice to be able to create a new dynamic between you and your co-parent. And at the end of the day, you also have the power to be able to create whatever this gets to look like. And at the end of the day, it’s really important for your kids, that you ensure that you’re making decisions and communicating with your former spouse.

[00:13:38] In their best and highest good. I always say that it’s super, super important. So I hope that today’s episode was really important or rather was really valuable to you guys. I know that it was really important to me. Boundaries are something that I was horrible at setting until I got divorced and then realized how I had none.

[00:13:58]And it’s so important, so much so that I actually teach regularly about boundaries and com To also share with you guys right now is that I am going to be doing a July workshop. That’s going to be starting on July 7th. So that is next Wednesday for when this episode drops. If you guys are interested in attending, I highly recommend that you check out the show notes and click on the link.

[00:14:19] I have a special offer in here for those of you who listened to my podcast for you guys, to be able to take advantage of a payment opportunity, a payment plan option for you guys to attend. I’m going to be doing this. It’s going to be me, your one-on-one. You’re in a group with me. I have limited seats available for the workshop and essentially every week we’re going to be not only learning about it.

[00:14:41] What boundaries, the different types of boundaries. There are. I’m going to be sharing tips, how tos, but really we’re going to get to the bottom of creating boundaries for everybody in your life. So we’re going to do work. One-on-one, I’m going to be able to coach you guys. I’m going to be able to hear what your individual circumstances are to be able to help with guiding you into the language that you get to use to set boundaries, not just with your co-parent, but with your kids, with your family, with your colleagues, because I know you guys are.

[00:15:10] So many different stages of your divorce, healing process boundaries are something we always get to continue to work on. It’s something that I know that I practice every single day. It is the reason why we feel discomfort is because typically a boundary is being stepped on. And I don’t know if you guys.

[00:15:27] Some little facts, but our boundaries are actually derived from our values. So if you don’t even know what your values are, that’s something that we’re also going to be exploring and learning so that you guys can really start standing in your power and to become boundaries. Bad-ass is I am. I learned how to do it in a very short period of time.

[00:15:48] I will hold your hand. I will help you get comfortable with the language to be able to start setting boundaries with every single person in your life and doing so from a place that’s going to enable you to strengthen yes. Strengthen relationships with anyone and everyone in your life. So again, check out the show notes, to learn more about the setting boundaries workshop for July.

[00:16:12] Four weeks, 90 minute minimum. I tend to go over workbooks, replays, all that amazing stuff. Community. Imagine having, just an amazing community of friends who are struggling in the same way that you are learning from them. I always say coaching for one is coaching for all. So I hope to see you guys there and sending you tons of love, light and joy as always.

[00:16:36] I’ll see you guys in the next episode.

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