Boundaries are essential when you are a co-parent. Unfortunately, you only need to worry about limitations when the other person is not receptive to the idea. Creating space between you and the other parent requires patience and consistency.
You might sometimes feel tempted to give into your co-parent’s behavior, but it is essential to maintain your mental health to be a good parent. See below for tips on setting realistic boundaries with a co-parent.
Make direct statements
According to Psychology Today, directness is the key to setting boundaries. Passive or vague statements will not cut it. If your co-parent engages in uncomfortable or inappropriate behavior, address that behavior so there is no room for confusion.
Do not apologize or rationalize
Direct statements can be scary to make. However, do not justify or apologize for your request. If you do not want the co-parent to talk about a particular subject with you, overexplaining yourself allows debate. You do not have to be rude, but you also should not feel guilty.
Resist guilt and follow through
Guilt is a powerful form of pushback against boundaries. Expect the other parent to argue or play the blame game. Prepare yourself mentally for resistance and think about the reason you need boundaries in the first place. If you allow guilt or fear to take control of your decision-making, you will not follow through with the limits you set. Decide the consequences of breaking your trust and stick to it.
Coparenting is hard enough without having to deal with boundaries. Remind the parent that your child is the priority and that a healthy, cooperative relationship is essential for your child’s well-being.