Setting healthy boundaries is an important aspect of our mental and physical health. Healthy boundaries help to make us feel stable, secure, and safe. Boundaries help us to establish how we deserve to be treated by others. Furthermore, if we can establish how certain behaviors by others make us feel, we can create more empathy towards others as they try to set their own boundaries. In turn, setting healthy boundaries can allow us to be more compassionate towards ourselves and others!
Healthy boundaries can actually be considered part of our self-care regime, because it allows us to focus on what is best for us. It can, however, be challenging for us to say no, because it may open the door for conflict. Not only are healthy boundaries important for adults, but showing children boundaries is important because it often helps them to feel safe. Children typically like and need to know “what is next” in their day. Although boundaries in family relationships are complex and ever changing as children mature, you can start with things like set bath times, bedtimes routines, set wakeup times, personal space, etc. Sometimes it may be hard for us to tell when we need to establish boundaries. In these times we can ask ourselves the questions: “how did that make me feel?” “why did I feel that way?” and “what would I do differently next time?”.
So what can healthy boundaries look like?
- Keeping your personal life out of your work
- Letting go of what you can’t control
- Choosing who you connect with on social media wisely
- Setting boundaries around when you want to and what you want to do with your friends
- Setting limits for your children (set bath time, food times, bedtime, wakeup time, etc.)
*Boundaries are personal and may look different for you, these are just some examples.*
How to set boundaries
- Define your desired boundary/boundaries
- Communicate your needs
- Stay simple – try not to over explain your boundaries
- Set consequences – allow yourself to say why it is important for you to have this boundary.
- Keep things focused on yourself and your needs
Video for Adults