Boundaries, more than just ways to divide the earth into countries, states and towns. Boundaries signify so much more than dividing lines on the earth but set parameters for how we desire to form relationships throughout our lives. So, what is the whole big deal regarding boundaries anyway? I mean why are people writing books on how to maintain appropriate boundaries and facilitating relationships? Shouldn’t all of this be second nature, I mean of course you don’t hug someone when they don’t want to be hugged, and if you call someone and they are busy, you don’t call back five minutes later to try to chat again. In counseling, we talk about boundaries as they are connected to Codependency. This is when you need constant reassurance from someone else before you can make decisions and other factors that make it difficult to live your own confident life. Boundaries make a lot of sense if you are the one on the receiving end of too much emotional or physical attachment from another person. Well, you are least know what you like or don’t like from when it comes to other people. How many times have you heard someone say, “they just don’t have healthy boundaries”?
As a parent, you can teach healthy boundaries by showing proper emotional attachment. This means you have to take your own boundaries inventory. Are you making sure to demonstrate healthy attachments in your own life by the amount of affection shown to your significant other as well as other family members and how you handle arguments? You can encourage children to maintain healthy boundaries by making sure to watch how they attach themselves to other children. Are they hugging too much and not stopping when another child tells them to stop? Are they seeking out friends by offering rewards for their friendship?
As parents of teenagers, they need to be taught healthy boundaries with a little bit of autonomous love. This can be difficult for parents in a world dominated by social media. Decide what boundaries you believe are best for their mental, emotional and physical well-beings, but remember that they are likely going to push those boundaries. Teenagers do this because they are learning how to become adults. Unfortunately, to the dismay of many parents, it is up to you to reprimand teens and explain the reason for a curfew or why they cannot hide who they are spending their time with. Remember that it is important that you explain yourself to your children as opposed to the old adage, “you don’t need to know why, I am the parent and I say so”.
As adults we need to remember that boundaries are in place for a reason and like countries and states, each boundary means something different. Towns, states and countries will have their own laws, rules and regulations. In humans and as an adult, you have to give yourself a chance to learn the boundaries of the other people in your life. Some people like to show affection with hugging while other people are not into public displays of affection. Learn about introversion and extroversion and how this can affect how people respond to you. Also, remember that each person has a backstory that shapes their worldview and how they interact with people. Lastly, remember that everyone makes mistakes and that’s okay. After all, how are we supposed to learn what is right and wrong if we don’t take the time to learn. Try not to take it to heart but learn from it and add it to your mental library. Creating relationships takes time and trust is not built in a day.
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