Defining Boundaries
Boundaries are important. For health and safety. For relationships. For modeling behavior. Take a look at these different types of boundaries—and be aware of when to use them.
Safety Boundaries
Help them set safe boundaries for themselves—-adhering to a curfew, avoiding substance abuse and risky behavior.
Lead by example
Weak boundaries lead to unsafe situations. For example, if you agree to something you're not uncomfortable with—in hopes of strengthening your relationship—you're setting up a weak boundary. If you find yourself saying “only this one time”, pay attention to why you’re making such an exception.
Start out strict
It’s often easier to loosen boundaries than to tighten them later. For example, don't make promises about your availability (“Call me anytime...”) that you can’t maintain. Another example is around physical contact (high fives versus hugs).
Minimize your roles
Be mindful of taking on multiple roles. If you're the guidance counselor or intermural coach, you might avoid offering them a job—because suddenly you're the boss as well. This could result in confusing messages.
Respect others' roles
Be cognizant of others in their lives. To avoid infringing on others' roles, try to maintain ongoing conversations and contact with their teachers, care-givers and family.
Tough love
At some point a boundary may be crossed. When it this happens address it head on rather than ignoring it. But use an emphatic, nonjudgmental approach.