Boundaries are rules and limits that you present in your interactions with others. They can be physical, mental, psychological and spiritual. Setting boundaries are essential to healthy relationships and are good mental health practice. It can, however, often be difficult to set boundaries with the people whom we are the closest. Setting and sustaining boundaries with family is a skill that needs practice.
Here are a few helpful ideas on how to set boundaries with family:
- Practice self-awareness- Understand yourself and your needs. Remember your needs and feelings are important. Setting boundaries happens when you understand your feelings and honor them.
- Name your limits- You aren’t able to set good boundaries if you’re unsure of where you stand. So identify your limits. Ask yourself- What behaviors will I not tolerate? What kind of relationship do I want with my family?
- Be firm, but kind- Setting boundaries doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be callous.When you set a boundary make sure you are clear.
- Keep realistic expectations- Be realistic with yourself about what boundaries you want to keep. Follow through with boundaries can be difficult, but keep at it and remind others of the boundaries you set.
- Be direct and assertive- Don’t drop hints or be passive aggressive about your boundaries. Being clear about what is okay and what is not okay is the only way you can make sure others understand you.
- Take care of yourself and your needs- Practice self-care. Go for walks, read, or spend time alone. Make yourself a priority.
Start small- Boundaries takes practice. Start with a small boundary and work your way up to more difficult boundaries.