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Setting boundaries: Here’s what your teenager should know

By HT School Web Desk,

Help your youngster understand what healthy boundaries are and how they can be set.

Setting physical and emotional boundaries is an important aspect of growing up.

Setting physical and emotional boundaries is an important aspect of growing up. Boundaries are crucial for all, especially teenagers for developing respectful, supportive, and healthy relationships. Not knowing where and how to draw the line increases their risk of abuse and bullying.  

Your teenager might find it uncomfortable to set boundaries. In fact, communicating boundaries can lead to emotional discomfort and awkwardness in conversation. Yet, it is one of the most important lifeskills that thing a teen should learn to master. Healthy boundaries are necessary to keep youngsters safe, physically and emotionally from people who make them feel unprotected or disrespected.  

What are healthy boundaries? 
Sometimes teenagers understand the concept of boundaries, but they are unaware of the real life implications of drawing the line. You need to help them understand what healthy boundaries are. Here are some examples that you can share with your teenager: 

  • It is important to ask a friend or acquaintance to stop taunting about an issue that one is sensitive to. Deciding on a consequence if the boundary is crossed is equally important.  
  • One example of healthy boundary is to stop lending money to someone who borrows frequently without repaying the loan.  
  • It is essential for youngsters to let their close ones know how important me-time is for them. This will inspire others to respect their need for space. 
  • In a romantic relationship it is important to ask the partner to respect their time with friends. So, calling or texting repeatedly during a hang out is not welcome. 

Helping your youngster set boundaries 
Teens tend to run into a variety of scenarios that may require regulation or limits to be put in place. These situations can challenge your teen's values and beliefs and it is, therefore, essential to know how to set boundaries. Here are some tips for it: 

Help youngsters identify their feelings: It takes time for anyone to identify and label their feelings in a given situation. The first step to teach your teens about setting boundaries is to help them figure out how she is feeling.  

Explain the limits of friendship: Teens often fall into the trap of believing their friends, even if there is no reason to do so. Make your teens understand that every friendship is different and will affect their lives individually. Your teen should know that having an opinion different from their friends is acceptable. This is in fact, essential for a healthy and authentic friendship in the future. 

Teach them to identify toxic behaviors: Discuss with your teenager about how a healthy relationship looks like and what constitutes unhealthy behaviour. If he isn’t aware of these, he may end up compromising his self-worth. Remind him that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Boundaries need to be set with a person who treats him sans any respect.  

Talk about digital boundaries: Help your teenager learn about digital etiquette so that she can stay safe online setting boundaries for people who are violating online norms.  

Be a role model: Your youngster’s decisions and behaviour are largely influenced by what you do. Evaluate your own relationship with others and ask yourself, “Am I setting the right example while it comes to setting boundaries with people who take me for granted or take advantage of me?” Start taking steps in the right direction if you haven’t, yet.  

Encourage your teenager to respect others’ boundaries too: This is as important as setting boundaries. Tell her that healthy mutual respect for each other’s boundaries is the basis for any healthy relationship.

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