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Teaching Teens Boundaries

In a world obsessed with posting everything on the internet, connecting with new people, and pushing boundaries, teaching kids and teens about their boundaries has never been more critical. 

Establishing boundaries is vital to maintaining your mental and physical health. Sometimes, it can be difficult to stand your ground, especially when you are an athlete standing up to a coach or a child to your parents. By teaching teens about boundaries and what they can do to establish them, you can feel more secure that they can stand up for themselves. 

Understanding Boundaries

So, what are boundaries, anyway? 

Boundaries are the limits and rules we establish to protect ourselves in relationships. These limits can be physical, mental, emotional, or even time. Examples include:

  • Not wanting to hug someone

  • Not going over a certain weight limit when working out

  • Having a specific time to focus that you wish to respected

  • Limiting your time around certain people for your emotional and physical wellbeing 

  • Limits around inappropriate texts or messages

  • Certain situations you don’t want to be in

The list can go on and on. 

When these limits are followed, people feel more secure and confident in themselves and feel heard and respected. 

This feeling can make a world of difference for teenagers, especially since they’re in a time when everything feels out of control. Without boundaries, teens can suffer from diminished performance, extreme stress, or burnout as they try to juggle everyone else’s emotions and expectations. 

How to Set Boundaries  

Setting boundaries and challenging others about them can seem easy for some people. However, it can feel overwhelming for those who have never had to establish them or have always been bad at setting them.

Before you can teach anyone how to set boundaries, they must know what those boundaries are. Encourage them to reflect on their own needs, values, and limits so they can begin to identify where they should set their boundaries. 

From there, it’s all communication. Communication can be challenging for those not used to discussing their wants or needs. Practicing with your teen to develop strategies around speaking to coaches, teammates, teachers, and peers can help them gain confidence in their voice. They’ll feel more comfortable saying no when they are in uncomfortable situations. 

Consistency is critical to ensuring your teens maintain their boundaries. Regularly check in and work with them when they’re being inconsistent. Inconsistency can lead to confusion and resentment in relationships over time. 

Respecting Others’ Boundaries

In addition to establishing their boundaries, they need to know how to respect others’ boundaries. By respecting other’s boundaries, not only are your teenagers building stronger relationships with those around them, but it also reinforces the importance of their own limits. 

Teens can learned to recognize these boundaries by learning basic body language signs or by simply having open conversations with others. Make sure they understand that they shouldn’t just honor the boundaries of their peers, but also coaches and authority figures. This will help them see that we all have boundaries.

Overall, we all have boundaries that deserve recognition. We all have limits. By teaching your teens at such a young age how to be self-aware and aware of those around them, you won’t just be setting them up for success. You’ll also prepare them to be strong mentally for anything the world has to throw at them. Remember, though, that setting boundaries is a process. Be patient, take your time, and practice often to have the best, most fulfilling results. 

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