The most difficult part of moving on after a divorce is learning to deal with the issues related to the kids that have typically been joint decisions with your former husband. Even though you are now individually raising the kids on your own, you and your ex will still need to communicate on issues about the kids..
Tension could arise if there are no establish rules of engagement. Consequently, making it more difficult for both parents to work together to maintain a nurturing and loving environment in the aftermath of the divorce or separation.
But there are some things you can do to set clear boundaries with your ex-spouse so that you can co-parent better. Maybe not perfect, but better.
Find common ground
The first thing you must do is find common ground with your ex-spouse. It goes without saying that there will be arguments or difficult conversations. But if you return to a shared purpose in those moments, you can possibly avoid some confrontations.
- Put the children first. Even if your ideas of this differ, the welfare of the children should be at the center of every conversation.
- Agree that you both love your child– It can help to keep things in perspective.
Aim for good communication
Clear and fair communication is at the center of co-parenting. Without it there can be confusion, confrontational behavior, and an unstable environment for your children. Set a few ground rules and if you can’t get your partner to cooperate, at least you are setting a good example for your child.
- Avoid yelling and irrational behavior. This is emotionally harmful to your children and in fact can cause them anxiety, fear, and lead to behavioral problems.
- Keep a record of communications so that you can refer back to what was said during the conversation.
- Keep a calendar or some other written form of a schedule that can be shared between the co-parents so everyone is on the same page. (Include important contact information for the children–school, daycare, doctor, if needed.)
Put the children first. Even if your ideas of this differ, the welfare of the children should be at the center of every conversation.
Be consistent and fair
Stick to your standards. If your ex-partner goes off course and begins yelling or behaving in an irrational manner, you can stick to a consistent game plan. And yes, this may mean you may have to bite your pride. I had to do that an awful lot for my kids but over time I learned that for my children’s sakes, it was more important to let go of an argument and focus on what my kids needed.
- De-escalate the situation. Use calm language and non-threatening or accusatory statements.
- Simplify the situation as much as possible. (Don’t bring up a bunch of past arguments.)
- Work to keep things as consistent and stable for your children as possible.
You can set boundaries to protect yourself during the process as well. You do not have to remain friends across social media with your ex and their family members. You do have a right to your own privacy. But, when it comes to issues involving the children there must be good clear communication with your ex partner.
I know it’s difficult to be fair and calm during these challenging times, but you can get through it with some good healthy boundaries in place.