How good you are at boundaries is hugely impacted by your environment growing up.
Think about it for a moment.
• Were healthy boundaries role-modelled to you?
• What methods did adults in your house use to put boundaries in place? E.g. tantrums, crying, violence, shouting or talking issues over, or a mix?
• How have you put boundaries in place as an adult?
• Have you employed some of the tactics you saw modelled to you?
• How well have they worked?
So many people come to us and say: “Help! I am useless at boundaries, please help!”
Here is a useful pocket guide:
1) Get clear on the boundary you need – This can be the hardest part, to realise you need to set a boundary in the first place. Once you know, get clear about the DETAILS of the boundary. The clearer you are, the clearer you will communicate it.
2) Communicate your needs clearly – Yes, this means a conversation. For some, a conversation can feel scary, but to set a clear boundary it is necessary. This is best done when we are not in an emotional state or overly triggered.
3) Explain why it is important and if you need to, set consequences – This step helps the other person to understand your reasons for the request. You are not just saying “be home by midnight!”, you are saying “Please be home by midnight. When you come home later, I really worry about you and I don’t sleep well.”
If you need a stronger boundary with a consequence, think carefully about the consequence first, so it is reasonable and implementable.