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BOUNDARIES - What Are Boundaries
& Why Is Setting Boundaries
Good for You?

 Setting healthy boundaries is one of the key ingredients
in a healthy emotional life. To learn about that and much more to support you in creating the emotional life you desire  
Click Here

O ne of the most terrifying things about raising young children is that they have no boundaries of their own. Which means that as their parent, you have to be on the alert constantly to provide healthy boundaries for  them.  Setting healthy boundaries is a major portion of any parent's job.

As  an adult, your relationship with your children is only one place that calls for healthy boundaries - in fact setting healthy boundaries in relationships of any kind is part of making your life work well.

What are boundaries, anyway, and why do we need to have personal boundaries?

Here are twelve facts about relationship boundaries that address these questions:

When you establish a healthy boundary, you:

1.      Indicate a border or limit (I can talk to you for five minutes right now, then I need to leave);

2.      Say "this far and no farther" (I am glad to hear what you have to say on this subject, but I am not going to comment on it at this time.")

3.      Define a consequence if you need to for what will happen if the boundary is violated. (If you keep picking your nose at the dinner table, you will need to eat by yourself and you can try again tomorrow. If you keep interrupting me, I am going to call you on it, even if it's in front of your friends.)

4.      Can state your responsibility as one person. In other words, you can say what you will and will not be responsible for, or do.(I will prepare dinner four times this week.  I will keep the car gassed up, I will not take the car in for the next servicing.)

5.      Can define responsibilities divided between 2 or more people. (You pick up the groceries, I'll cook.  You cook, I'll clean up.)

6,       Prevent double work. By establishing who will do what, you prevent duplicating work because the other person or people didn't realize the other person was going to do it.

7.    C an  define the limits of your own ability to cope or carry out a task. (I can do ten situps today and that's all. I can run a mile today without caving in since I'm newly recovered from the flu. I'm not going to talk about so-and-so's death right - I need to keep my composure at work.)

8.       Establish protection for yourself,  a child, a relationship or personal property. (I'm not going to see you in person today since you still have the flu.  Johnny, stay here where I can see you and don't go close to the edge of the pool.  I'm going to wait to bring up this touchy subject with so-and-so until he/she's had a good night's sleep.

9.      Bestow the power to safeguard your own happiness, & well-being on yourself instead of some outside source that might or might not deliver for you. (I am going to go to the party tonight and have a good time whether or not so-and-so shows up as promised.)

10.      Award command of your own self definition to yourself, separate from the world around you. (So-and-so called me lazy today, but I'm not lazy; in fact I'm quite industrious.)

11.    K eep things that are good for you inside yourself and prevent things that are bad for you from entering.     (I'm sure glad I don't have to accept so-and-so's taste in music for myself, as that last selection sounded like just so much noise to me.

12.    And last, most important to your physical health and well being: When you set boundaries, you create instructions in your brain about what is  'me' and what is 'not me'.  In turn, these instructions inform your body's immune system about what to attack and attempt to get rid of, and what to allow as part of yourself.

Pamela Levin is an R.N. and a Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst in private practice 42 years. She has taught and trained professional and lay audiences all over the world on the subjects of creating a healthier emotional life and relationships.

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