Welcome back to the Hope for Parents with Struggling Teens podcast, a resource for parents who want to learn what really works in relationships with struggling teens.
Have you ever set a boundary with someone, and then that person just wouldn’t respect it? Well, guess what - that wasn’t a proper boundary.
There’s a common misunderstanding about boundaries floating around right now, that the other person in your life has to honor it for it to be a success. In reality, a boundary is a decision we make on our end that has to do with what we can control.
So, if you’re creating a boundary, it will exist no matter how the other person responds to it. It’s all about changing our own behavior in order to protect ourselves, rather than changing another person’s behavior toward us.
It may result in some behavioral changes in others, but we can’t make that our goal. In fact, some boundaries don’t even need to be explained to others up front.
In this episode, I explain some essential definitions we can make when setting a boundary. You’ll want to define what you’re protecting, define what you actually have control over, and define what you’ll be able and willing to follow through with (be realistic).
Here are three elements of a well-set boundary:
The topic: Whittle this down to something concrete. Example: “If you yell at me…”
The boundary: Decide what will happen on your end. Example: “I’m going to leave the conversation.”
The follow-through: Importantly, you need to keep your boundary consistently. Example: Leaving the conversation if the person yells.
Boundaries are different from a punishment-reward system and often need to come into play when the punishment-reward system is being disregarded or isn’t an effective motivator.
The principles in this episode will keep us off the boundary merry-go-round and reduce any internal resentment we may experience toward our teens.