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Setting Boundaries with Parents 

By Emma Davies


Updated on

Setting boundaries with parents can be tough and there’s no doubt about that but sometimes it has to be done so you feel a lot more comfortable in their presence. We all know that parents like to set boundaries for their kids like a time to be home and often it keeps the kids safe. But it’s equally as important for kids to set some with their parents too.

Setting Boundaries with Parents 

But why is it so important? Setting boundaries can be a big deal, especially if your parents are more on the difficult side but having healthy and set boundaries with parents can be really good for you and your relationships. It also means that you and your parents will have a much better relationship and there may be less tension and anger when you go and visit – we all know what that can be like. We’ve got you covered on all things boundaries so let’s take a look.

How to Set Boundaries with Parents

If you’re keen to set boundaries with your parents then we have plenty of tips to help you get through it because sometimes it can be hard. These tips work and they’re certainly worth considering if you’re going to be setting boundaries with your parents.

  • Don’t feel guilty for having boundaries – This is our top tip for setting boundaries with parents and we very much recommend it. Sometimes we do feel a bit guilty about wanting space or boundaries with the people who molded us into who we are. But wanting boundaries is a very important part of life and so don’t feel guilty about wanting that little extra time or space to yourself. Having boundaries will also help you have a much healthier relationship with your parents as you’re not constantly bickering with each other like kids.
  • Know what you want -Having a clear idea of the boundaries you want is also a really important part of setting boundaries with your parents. You can’t go in there without any intentions because it could lead to you being walked over and not gaining anything in the long run. Remember that this will make your relationship much better and healthier so it’s the best thing for all of you. So go in there with a clear head and know what you want – you’ve got this.
  • Be direct – Being direct is also a great way to go about setting boundaries with parents as adults as it shows them that you know what you’re there for and it shows your clear intentions. Being direct and headstrong, it’ll help you go that extra mile to ensure you get the boundaries that you want.
  • Be aware of when you need space – Knowing when you need space is also a great tip when choosing boundaries to set with your parents. In fact, this is actually a boundary in itself if you think about it.
  • Stick to your boundaries – Sometimes you need to be stubborn and know what you want and stick to those boundaries you’ve set to make sure that your relationship with your parents still works out.
  • Have a support network – Having a support network may also help a good bit with setting boundaries so you have people to talk to. This could be with your friends, other family members, or a therapist and could be really helpful if you’re struggling with a narcissistic parent.
  • Cut them off if necessary – This is of course a worst case scenario for any kid with their parents but if they’re completely unwilling to support you and your boundaries then it may be worth considering this.

How to Set Boundaries with Parents as a Teenager

There are many things you can do as a teenager to set boundaries with your parents and to make your relationship a lot stronger. A lot of that will come with communicating with your parents about what you want and then compromising with them. At the end of the day, you’re still living in their house and so a lot of the boundaries like curfews will have to come from them.

Sitting down with your parents and deciding on rules together will make it much easier to be around them and it won’t be such a pain to come home and deal with tensions. Communicate and tell them what you want and this could be anything like what time you’d like to come home or what days you’d like to go out with your friends. By sitting down and mutually agreeing, you’re discussing like adults and still coming to a healthy conclusion.

How to Set Boundaries with Parents After Marriage

Marriage is a huge deal and sometimes parents can be slightly difficult about it, meaning that trips to the in laws are never fun. So setting boundaries with parents after marriage is really important and it’ll make life much easier.

The first thing you’ll want to do is to ensure that you have that quality time with your new partner and your parents should know this. If you don’t want them to call in every other day because you’d rather spend quality time with your spouse then tell them that – communication is key.

If they tend to share unhelpful comments or they share advice on marriage that you don’t appreciate then tell them that and call them out on it. It may feel uncomfortable and they may feel a bit awkward about it but you need to be honest, just like we’ve said in the tips we offered first.

Examples of Boundaries with Parents

Here are a few examples of what you can do to maintain a healthier relationship with your parents while still setting fair boundaries.

  • No unexpected visits and getting them to call you before they come over
  • No oversharing
  • No lecturing
  • No gossiping
  • Not giving advice on marriage or relationships
  • Getting them to respect your life choices and to understand the fact that you’re an adult now
  • If you have children then you may want to figure out when they babysit or if they’re allowed to discipline them

These are just a few examples of boundaries with parents that you may want to consider setting with your parents and that’s okay. Remember that sometimes you have to be selfish to make sure you do what’s best for you and that’s okay.

Setting Boundaries with Different Types of Parents

There are lots of different types of parents out there and setting boundaries in parenting is important to each type. Of course, we won’t be able to cover every single type of parent but we have a few tips on setting healthy boundaries with parents.

Setting Boundaries with Parents as Adults

As an adult, it’s still really important to set those boundaries with your parents so you have a good balance between your life and them.

To do this, you need to be clear and straight to the point when talking to them. It’s also a good idea to show them that you appreciate everything that they’ve done for you. Some people like to introduce one boundary at a time to just ease them into it so it’s not too overwhelming and the tension isn’t through the roof.

Setting Boundaries with Toxic Parents

This can often be the hardest of them all and dealing with toxic parents is never fun – nobody likes the passive aggressiveness and sometimes it’s just draining. So how do you set boundaries with them?

You can do this by decreasing any exposure to them when you can and creating your own space so you have that privacy. Before setting any boundaries, you’ll also want to decide whether you actually want to fix the relationship you have with them. It’s also really important that you don’t try to change your parents because chances are they won’t change but setting boundaries may help your relationship become that little less toxic.

Setting Boundaries with Difficult Elderly Parents

The joy that is difficult elderly parents – sometimes they’re just not fun. So how do you set boundaries with them?

We can’t emphasize this enough – communication truly is key and so you need to show them your limits when you’re talking to them. Remaining calm is also very important and avoiding being dismissive – communicate communicate communicate. You may even want to consider bringing another family member if you’re really worried about it or seeking professional help is also an option too.

Setting Boundaries with Controlling Parents

Controlling parents are not fun to deal with but we’re going to emphasize what we’ve said already. You need to communicate with your parents and be direct with them so they know exactly what you want – don’t cave to them because this is your life that it’s affecting. Set rules in stone for your parent and don’t back down – now is the time for you to be stubborn.

Effects of Setting Boundaries with Parents

  • Mutual respect – Through setting boundaries with your parents, you’ll find that the sense of mutual respect will be a lot more obvious. When you’re a child it’s very much their word against yours but now you’ll be able to respect each other that much more by coming to compromises and not having them cross your boundaries.
  • Allowing your kid to feel safe – If your kid is still little then having boundaries may help them feel a lot safer in your house. They’ll feel a part of your home and they may also feel like they can talk to you a lot more about things that are bothering them.
  • Mature understanding – This leads on from the whole idea of mutual respect and having that mutual understanding between you and your parents can make your relationship a lot healthier and a lot better for all of you. Showing that you’re grateful for everything they’ve done for you is a really good start to this mature understanding.
  • Healthier relationships – We’ve touched on this a good bit but setting healthy boundaries with parents can also lead to a much healthier relationship between you all which is a really good thing.

Can I Set Boundaries with My Parents?

The answer is of course you can. Being clear and concise with why you are setting the boundaries and what you would like them to be. But also be open to compromising with your parents to find that happy balance.

Keep headstrong and go in there knowing what you want and you’ve got this.

About Emma Davies

Emma Davies is a freelance writer that specializes parenting and animal topics. With over 20 years experience as a parent there are very few topics that faze her.

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