Top Five Tips for Setting Boundaries with Family Members

Are you dealing with a difficult family member in Havre, MT? Only you can decide when enough is enough, and when you finally reach that point, it’s important to set boundaries with family. Here are the top five tips to help you set boundaries with family in a firm yet compassionate way.

Prioritize your own needs

Whether you’re setting boundaries with parents, children or even a spouse, you naturally want to do so without hurting the other party. When you’re dealing with a difficult family member, remember that your needs are just as important and your concerns just as valid as those of the other person.

Resist the urge to go on defense

Setting boundaries with anyone in life is most effective when you do it with kindness. The old saying that you catch more flies with honey still applies today. Approach difficult family members in a positive way—anger and defensiveness can only serve to cause more division and strife. Be firm with what you want, but also be respectful and kind.

Propose realistic expectations

Managing your expectations of others is an important part of being a well-rounded, empathetic person. The general rule is to never assume—if you’re having continual issues with a particular family member, ask what they want and need in a particular situation. This ensures you respect the boundaries of others, too. Not only should you have realistic expectations of others, including difficult family members, but you should also have them of yourself. Don’t give in and agree to attend a family event in Havre, MT if you know that conflicts will inevitably arise. Be realistic with what you can tolerate and make plans accordingly.

Be direct

When you set boundaries with family, always be direct with your intentions. Many people try to drop hints or act in a passive aggressive way, hoping the other party will take notice and adjust their behavior accordingly. This rarely, if ever, works the way you want it to. If you want to get results and make individuals change behavior in a positive way, be explicit about your needs and don’t beat around the bush.

Walk away if you need to

Remember that you always have the option to walk away from a toxic family member. If you’ve been clear in your intentions about setting boundaries with parents, children or any other difficult family members and they don’t respect those boundaries, be firm and follow through with your intentions. Restate your desires calmly and make it clear that you’re unwilling to interact with those who disrespect your wishes. Eventually, your message will sink in.

Setting boundaries with family can be a stressful and painful process. It’s always helpful to have the assistance of a professional counselor in Havre, MT on your side to deal with the complex emotions that often accompany the process. Contact Ellen Savage LCPC to schedule an appointment and begin learning more about how to empathetically set boundaries in your life with even the most difficult family members.