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  • How to Help your Teen with Boundaries

    Setting healthy boundaries is like drawing a map for your relationships—it shows where you end and others begin. It’s crucial for maintaining trust and respect, whether with friends, family, or partners. To help your teen navigate this journey, let’s simplify the process with clear steps and I will share my personal story to illustrate how there is hope that it can be done.

    Growing up, I often moved, making it hard to fit in and assert myself. The move from France to the U.S. was particularly challenging. I struggled with peer pressure and the quest for identity, constantly trying to learn new social rules. What changed everything for me was embracing my Christian faith, which taught me that my value comes from God. Remembering that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” and that in Him, “I am chosen, I am secure, I am worthy, I am enough” gave me the strength to stand up to peer pressure and choose my friends wisely. It taught me that it’s okay to say no to things that don’t align with my values and yes to what does. Learning to communicate these decisions effectively has been a journey, but one that has significantly shaped who I am.

    Here’s how you can guide your teen to set and communicate their own boundaries:

    Be Crystal Clear

    Spell out what you’re okay with and what you’re not. Instead of vague terms, use specific examples. If your teen doesn’t want to be on their phone after 9 p.m., they could say, “I’m putting my phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ after 9 p.m. to ensure I get enough sleep,” making their boundary clear.

    Set Consequences 

    It’s important to explain what happens if a boundary is crossed. For example, if someone continues to pressure your teen into something they’re uncomfortable with, they might need to take a step back from that friendship. Remember, setting a boundary also means being ready to uphold it.

    The Positive Sandwich

    Communicating boundaries doesn’t have to be confrontational. Encourage your teen to frame their boundary with positive statements. If they need more personal space, they could say, “I really value our time together, but I also need some time to myself to recharge. How about we hang out on weekends?”

    Remember, setting boundaries is a skill that gets better with practice. And it’s not just about saying no; it’s about making choices that reflect who they are and what they value. If you or your teen find this challenging, consider seeking support. Our team understands the delicate balance of relationships and can offer personalized guidance on setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. Reach out to us to find a supportive space for your teen to grow in their confidence and communication skills.

    Written by Rebecca Muyres, LPC, CPCS, RPT-S, CCTP