Co-parenting with the ex-spouse can be challenging.
This is regardless of having signed a Co-Parenting Agreement. Some things sound perfect on paper, but applying it to real-life craziness can still challenge you and push you to your limit. Even if she (or he) is not over the top, setting limits will help things to flow easier.
Here are a couple of things to remember:
1) Boundaries are about you. It is about what you will and won’t permit, without being unreasonable, critical / judgmental, or contrary to legal documents.
2) You can only control yourself. You can’t change your ex, and trying to change her will likely make matters worse. So, your boundaries are about getting your needs met, but is NOT about trying to get her to change her ways.
3) Communication between you and your ex-wife (or ex-husband) ought to be open, frank, and informative. Talk regularly about what the kids are doing or not doing at your house.
4) An ex-spouse is ideal to convey requests and suggestions. Since ex-mates are frequently angry of the new partner (step parent), he/she will be less receptive to his/her input. I.E. Dads, talk to your ex-wife yourself, instead of expecting your new wife to do it. Moms, talk to your ex-husband, instead of asking your new husband to do it.
5) If your circumstances are above and beyond what this can help you with, consult with a Stepfamily Professional.
Every couple needs boundaries, just as each individual does. However, stepfamilies often experience way more than average due to the nature of stepfamily dynamics. Each blended family is unique, so these may not be appropriate for every one.