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Boundaries: What Does It Mean?

BBeing honest and

Oopen. Having

Uunderstanding conversations that

Nnurture positive feelings and thoughts.

Ddetermining your wants and values and

Aassertively helping others become aware of these.

Rrespecting yourself and others by making

I –  intentional efforts to improve your relationships.

Eempathetic and effective communication so all involved feel

Ssafe and secure.

For many couples after separation or a break up, or even those underneath consistent conflict, deciding to reconcile can be difficult to visualize. Sometimes reconciliation does not mean re-establishing a romantic relationship. Some couples choose, after separation, to establish a new relationship for cooperative and positive parenting to take place.

Without a doubt, it is quite difficult for most couples to reach an amicable closure of the romantic part of their relationship. This, however, is an essential step toward effectively developing a positive co-parenting relationship. For some, this may indeed seem almost impossible; moving from a couple once in love to negotiating and implementing a mutually respectful cooperative parenting agreement. Parents interested in the healthiest environment for raising children can benefit from professional coaching to reach this goal as soon as possible after their separation.

Feelings of grief, betrayal, hurt, confusion and disappointment can cloud perceptions, potential for forgiveness and severely limit healthy and clear communication. The identification and development of healthy communication and negotiation processes are central to building an effective co-parenting relationship. This is where boundaries come in to play. While emotions are high, and pools of uncertainty exist, boundaries establish clarity and safe measures to begin the process; deconstructing one part of the relationship while reconstructing another.

Examples of cooperative parenting agreements include guidelines for how and when to talk, what to discuss and with who (e.g. with children, family, friends), when to have flexibility and how to negotiate or renegotiate changes. Additional topics to be worked out include ways to stay child focussed, shared parenting time, drop offs and pick ups, extracurricular activities, holidays and the pre-planned calendar of events.  Boundaries that are firm, with modest flexibility, greatly reduce the chance for disagreements, enhancing the likelihood parents and families will have caring, calm and relaxed “post-separation” relationships. 

For experienced, professional guidance in this area, book your appointment today.


Ice Coated Trees – Dec. 2013

Entry #2) Remarried couples, especially when the previous relationships involved high conflict dynamics, are likely to take on the same characteristic conflict style, over time, they had in previous relationships. This is not a personal failure or flaw but rather a habit learned over time that also can be unlearned. In today’s second post of three we hear from a dad’s perspective on this dynamic…

“Most times when there is a problem brewing in the household my wife comes at me with arguments as if we’re having a fight.  I think she stews over issues in her head to the point when she talks to me its already a full blown fight.  I listen and understand what she is saying and she has validity to what she says.  I feel that when she comes at me I don’t know what to say because now I’m engaged in a fight that I had no idea was coming.  By not saying anything I look like I’m avoiding the issue. By blurting out “yes dear” I feel like I’m just giving in and not contributing any input or constructive resolution.  I don’t know what to do and this happens all to often.  Its like she prefers conflict over communication… rage-aholic”
                                                                                              Husband/ Dad
How to argue well is an art that we develop over time.  There are many books and resources to help. Negotiating changes and challenges in our families requires as much skill as we use in our careers, if not more, due to the higher emotional intensity present in our intimate relationships. It is work to develop these skills and they do not “just come naturally”.

Check out tomorrow’s post from Wife/Stepmom for the conclusion to this series.