Last week we talked about enforcing boundaries in the home. Setting boundaries in the home, builds a strong foundation for both parents and children to set and keep boundaries outside of the home. Keeping boundaries with extended family, friends, and others can be hard, especially when they try to push those boundaries. Here are five different ways parents can enforce boundaries outside of the home.
1. Put your needs first
There is a misconception that putting ourselves first is selfish. But putting yourself first sets you up to succeed and have the energy to give to others. Boundaries help you decide what your personal needs are and ensures that those needs are met. If these needs are not being met because you are giving too much to other people, reassess why and make efforts to tip the scale to fill your cup.
2. Learn to say no
Most commonly, the hardest part of enforcing boundaries is saying, “no.” Saying no to family and friends takes practice and will get easier over time. If anyone questions your reasoning, stay strong and confident in your decisions. Boundaries are there to help relationships continue, not end them. A good response to for someone questioning or pushing boundaries could be, “I am setting this boundary because I love you. I want our relationship to be healthy, and this will help do that.”
3. Stay consistent
Once you have set a boundary, enforcing it is key to making it work. Wavering in your boundaries sends the message that the boundary is changeable. You can’t push a boundary that doesn’t move. Even if it takes time, people will learn to stop trying to push it. Expect others to respect your boundaries, if they consistently push or ignore them, it may be time to reassess the relationship.
4. Talk it out
Others will be more inclined to respect a boundary when they understand its reasoning. Sometimes other people do not realize the impact of their actions. By sitting down to have a conversation, you can help them understand how their actions might make you feel. It can also help you understand their intentions so you can both work together and move forward with clear boundaries.
5. Learn to walk away
If someone constantly ignores and pushes boundaries, even after discussing them, it may be time to walk away. Learning to walk away will help you put yourself first. You should never feel uncomfortable, upset, or disrespected when you are around those in your life. When it comes down to it, it’s okay to walk away. By walking away you make space to move forward with healthier relationships in your life.
Setting and keeping boundaries is not easy. But it is necessary. Boundaries keep the relationships in our lives healthy and allow them to flourish to their full potential. When experiencing tension with the people in your life, consider what boundaries could help these relationships. Set the boundaries and reassess as needed. You can do this! You are the best person to set boundaries in your life.