Setting boundaries with a difficult ex can be stressful. However, establishing boundaries is essential to protect the emotional health of yourself, and your kids.

Creating boundaries is an act of self-respect. In fact, think of boundaries as self-kindness.

It is important to remember that when you set boundaries you are apply them to govern your actions only, since you can’t control the actions of other people. Boundaries are not set as a way to ensure that your co-parent behaves accordingly.  They are set to help you commit to your own values.

That means that you control yourself. You decide what you will do in response to someone else’s behaviour or in advance to shelter yourself from someone else’s behaviour.

Boundaries are not a punishment. On the contrary, they are foundational to healthy relationships with others and yourself.

When you have a difficult co-parent, expect them to test your boundaries. In fact, as a parent, not a day will go by that your limits are untested. The problem is not that others test your boundaries. The problem is when you hold firm or flex your boundary without examination and awareness. Ask yourself:

Why did I set that limit in the first place?

What purpose does it serve?

Have the circumstances changed that led you to select the boundary?

Whose needs are being met by your boundary?

It is healthy to re-evaluate your boundary. In doing so, you might conclude that you need to stand firm, and maybe you can flex on things. The key is that you are determining your actions and doing so with awareness.

So, what kinds of boundaries can you create in your co-parenting relationship?

Co-parenting requires all sorts of boundaries. Some that you may wish to consider include physical boundaries, personal boundaries, communication boundaries, financial boundaries, legal boundaries, and social media boundaries.

It’s also important to keep in mind that respecting your ex’s limits is one method to plant the seeds of collaboration with them. The less you meddle in your ex’s life, the more probable it is that you will receive respect in return.

It may not be easy but healthy boundaries are always worth it. Take care of yourself.