How to Establish Boundaries After Divorce
Establishing Boundaries After Divorce
Establishing boundaries after divorce is one of the most important steps to take. Boundaries need to be established for your children, for your parenting partner, for your family, for your former in-laws and for yourself.
Boundaries will not only help the new divorced family unit to remain functional, but they will also help you to reduce the stress that your family experiences and help keep everyone working together amicably.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with information about what boundaries need to be set, how to set them, how to enforce them and what to do when the rules seem to fly out the window. Feel free to post your comments, personal stories and questions below in the comment box.
Setting Boundaries with Your Ex Spouse
The first boundaries that you need to establish are the ones between you and your former spouse. These boundaries will define how and when communication is to be transmitted, what rules each partner needs to follow when making plans with your children and how each parenting partner is to treat each other. You can also establish rules and boundaries for how new spouses will work into the parenting partnership and what roles they will play.
Tip: An example of this type of boundary is:
"Any information that relates to the children's education needs to be shared with the other parent."
Setting Boundaries with Your Kids
The second set of boundaries that you need to establish is made up of the boundaries between you and your children. These boundaries need to establish a common set of rules that will govern their lives regardless of whose house they are at. For example, you can impose a curfew of 11:00 p.m. on the weekend that is in effect both at your house and at your ex-spouse's house. Other boundaries that you will need to establish will related to responsibilities each child has and the respect that they show you, your ex-spouse and any new spouses that come along.
Setting Boundaries for Yourself...
Just like you need to set boundaries for your ex-spouse and your kids, when you get a divorce you need to set boundaries for yourself as well. The boundaries that you set for yourself are going to focus on things that impact your ability to be a good parent and to remain sane. For example, you need to set a boundary for how much you interfere with the time that your kids spend with their other parent. While it may be painful and very difficult to do, you need to let your kids enjoy their time with their parent. In fact you need to encourage them to maintain their bound with their other parent. The only time you would need to interfere is if you thought that they were not being cared for properly.
List of Common Boundaries for Divorced Couples
There are many types of boundaries that you can set, as the previous text module indicate. The boundaries create the rules by which your relationships are guided by in your divorced family structure. Here is a list of sample boundaries that you need to set when you get divorced:
- Schedules for when communications are appropriate, i.e. between 9 a.m and 10 p.m.
- Limits on how often you can communicate with kids when they are with their other parent.
- Tone of communications and rules for communicating, i.e. no swearing, no derogatory remarks and keep things respectful.
- How often you need to communicate with parenting partner to keep them in the loop.
- Rules for standing up for yourself when you are being mistreated by ex-spouse or other people.
- Boundaries that will prevent you from becoming overbearing or intrusive when it comes to your parenting partner's rights to be a parent.
- Rules for the family, regardless of whose house the kids are in.
- Standard set of punishments and rewards.
- Conflict resolution strategies that can be used to defuse tempers.