Setting boundaries with family can be difficult due to all the societal expectations we have around blood relatives. After all, isn’t family supposed to be the strongest bond of all? These ideas put a lot of pressure on us. We may feel like we need to put up with more from our families than we would from anyone else in our lives. Family dynamics can be quite intense, making it harder to set clear boundaries. You can create limits among family members. It simply takes a different approach. Take a look at these five tips for setting boundaries with family.
- Recognize Your Needs
Within the dynamics of a family, your own needs and interests might get lost in favor of someone else’s. If you find this to be true, take time to recognize your specific needs concerning other family members. Understanding what it is you want will make it easier to communicate that desire and to stand up for it when necessary.
- Communicate Clearly
Once you recognize your needs, it’s time to communicate them to your family members. Be clear and concise when telling loved ones what it is you need from them. They can’t honor your boundaries if they don’t understand them. Let your family know what you expect of them. You can also provide a rationale for your wishes if you so desire, but it isn’t necessary. Also, take time to let them know what will happen if they ignore your boundary.
- Be Firm
You’ll often need to be firm with your family. These people may feel they can blur boundaries due to the strong bonds they’ve created with you over time. They may fall easily into ingrained habits and forget your newly-established boundary. Don’t allow your limits to be pushed. Stay firm in what you need.
- Find Common Ground
Sometimes it’s easier to set boundaries when you take time to find out why the other person is having trouble adhering to their limits. This requires an honest conversation. Talk to your family members about your needs and ask them to share their feelings with you. When you understand each other, you can often create boundaries that make the most sense.
- Practice Being Assertive
Sticking to your boundaries will take practice for both you and your family members. Practice maintaining them consistently to make sure they stick. This will require being assertive on your part, and that’s okay. You deserve to have your limits respected.
These tips can be used with family members you see every day and with those who only come around during holidays. Once you implement boundaries with family members, you’ll find that your interactions are far less stressful. Give it a try.