pART 5

HOW TO SET PERSONAL BOUNDARIES

SETTING HEALTHY BOUNDARIES

Different relationships require different boundaries

You’ve spent some time evaluating your boundary tendencies and you may have determined that yours are either too rigid, too weak, or a mix of both.

But how do you take this knowledge and apply it to your real life? How can you start establishing healthy boundaries with your friends, family, co-workers, children, roommates, partners, and so on?

Each person’s experience is going to be unique. You have the best understanding of your relationships and which ones could use stronger or looser boundaries.

For example, if you have a toxic friend or relative in your life, you may need to establish very strict boundaries. For others, it may be as simple as learning to say no when you’re not up for something.

In this lesson, you’ll be provided some tips for healthy boundaries in some of the most common types of relationships. Take the tips that benefit you and your relationships and disregard the parts that don’t apply to you.

setting boundaries with your parents

As you become an adult, you will find that your relationship with your parents will evolve. At one point in your life, they were there to care for you and give you direction in almost all categories. Once you’ve reached adulthood, their role should diminish, giving you the opportunity to make your own choices.

For some families, this process of separation can be quite difficult and can even be painful for parents.

One thing to know is that setting these boundaries will take time and communication. It could take many conversations before coming to an understanding about what you want your relationship to look like with your parents.

Let Them Know When You Are Available

Most parents expect children to help out around the house and to come to every family event. As you age, your availability will look quite different.

You may still want to help your parents out from time to time, but you will acquire your own responsibilities. You will also find that you may not be able to attend every family gathering, especially as you start a family of your own.
Let your parents know times when you’re available and try to give them notice ahead of time. If you know you’re going to be missing a favorite holiday, give them time to process this information.

Use Kindness

There’s nothing wrong with being clear and concise with your parents about your boundaries, but things will go much more smoothly if you do it with kindness and appreciation.

Your parents have spent your life caring for you. Approaching this topic with respect and compassion will go a long way in making them feel appreciated and loved.

Think About and Communicate Your Limits

Give yourself some time to think about how much you would like your parents to be in your life and let them know any limits you set.

setting boundaries with your CHILDREN

Flipping things to the opposite side of the spectrum is setting healthy boundaries with your children. As a parent, it’s your job to give your children a clear set of guidelines and boundaries so they know what’s expected of them in life.

Children are made to push boundaries, but they also prefer to have them. Not only that, but without proper boundaries they won’t have a good idea of how to interact with others. Simple things like telling them not to hit or teaching them to share are examples of setting boundaries.

Be Clear, Concise, and Consistent

Nothing is more confusing to a child than shifting boundaries. If they get in trouble for a behavior one day, but another day it’s permissible, it can be very difficult for them to understand how they are to behave.

Similarly, if you have a severe consequence for an action one day and a small consequence for another, they may get the impression that it’s okay to do the behavior sometimes.

Choose Negative and Positive Consequences

Consequences can be positive or negative, and it’s helpful to use both when setting boundaries. For instance, your child may lose a privilege for doing the wrong thing, or they might gain a privilege for doing the right thing.

If You Are Co-parenting

You and your co-parent may not always agree on the best way to parent. Find times when you can discuss your differences apart from the children.

Do your best to find a way to compromise on differences in parenting so you can present a united front to your children.

Explain Why

As your children age, they may question your boundaries. Why do we have a bedtime? Why can’t we eat candy every day? Why can’t we play video games all day?

● Take this opportunity to explain to them your reasoning. You need a bedtime, so you aren’t tired and cranky the next day. Too much candy isn’t healthy for your body, and neither is playing video games all day.

● They may continue to push these boundaries, but it’s then your responsibility to continue to enforce them even when they argue about them.

Reevaluate Your Boundaries From Time To Time

Your boundaries for your children should be consistent, but they may change over time. You may find that you’re holding on to boundaries from your childhood that actually aren’t important to you.

● In addition, your children will age out of certain boundaries. For example, as they get older, you’ll be likely to give them later bedtimes or may feel they’re responsible enough to set their own bedtime.

setting boundaries in romantic relationships

At the beginning of a romantic relationship, it can be easy to blur healthy boundaries. Your romantic connection with the person may cause you to forget or ignore things that cross your boundary lines.

Even though emotions may be high in a romantic relationship, it’s still important to establish healthy boundaries early on so both partners understand where the other person is coming from.

If you didn’t set healthy boundaries early in a relationship, there’s still time, but it may take more time and communication to establish later.

Think About What You Want From The Relationship

Sit down and really consider what you hope to get from your romantic relationship. What things are important to you, and what things are deal breakers.

Tell Your Partner What You Want

As you get to know your partner, let them know the things that you want from the relationship.

● For example, if you want to take things slow and get to know them better, let them know that’s where you are. If you’re hoping to get married and have children someday, let them know as the relationship becomes more serious.

Share Your Beliefs and Priorities

This is something that likely won’t change (or at the very least won’t change easily). If you and your romantic partner have widely different core beliefs it will be a challenge to reconcile.

● The most important thing is to be open about your core beliefs so this doesn’t come as a surprise later in the relationship.

It's OK For Them To Be Different

It’s impossible to find someone who will think exactly the way you do in every scenario. In fact, being in a relationship with someone who thinks differently is often a good way to grow.

Allowing your partner to have different thoughts and opinions, and them allowing you the same, is a good way of establishing that you’re separate people that are free to be different

Communicate Your Physical Boundaries

Intimacy and physical touch is a large part of a romantic relationship, but not everyone has the same needs or boundaries.

● If something makes you uncomfortable, don’t hide that from your partner because you’re afraid to hurt their feelings. Kindly let them know when you don’t like something.

Talk About Money

Finances can be a catalyst for arguments. One of you might be spendy while another is thrifty. Communicate with each other about your expectations for finances.

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