Boundaries Aren't Meant to Control Anyone
One of the biggest mistakes I see parents making when it comes to boundaries is when they make a boundary hoping that it will change their teen's behavior.
Anytime you are hoping to change your teen's behavior, that is more of a manual or manipulation than it is a boundary.
Boundaries aren't meant to control anyone, especially not the other person.
It is important to remember that you cannot control anyone other than yourself.
Any effort made to control your teenager is an example of your focus being on things outside of your control.
This positions you as a victim because you are at the mercy of someone other than yourself.
Boundaries Are More For YOU
Setting boundaries is more for your benefit than for anyone else's benefit. In fact, most boundaries don't even need to ever be expressed to the other person.
Another common mistake with boundaries is focusing on the other person.
What the other person does or doesn't do is less important than what YOU will do.
For example, I have a boundary that If you yell at me, I will leave.
I usually don't ever tell the other person about this boundary. I simply notice that a boundary has been crossed, and I leave.
I don't even need to involve the other person.
I learned this when I was a high school football player. When the team would be talking dirty or horsing around, I simply got up and left. I didn't need to change them, I didn't want to be a part of their behavior, so I just left.
The same is true when you are raising your teen. Boundaries are more for your benefit than for theirs.
Sometimes you might share your boundaries with them, but it's not a requirement.
The Best Boundaries are Set with Love
Another mistake that I see when it comes to boundaries is setting them out of anger or fear.
You don't have to be mad to set or enforce a boundary.
But, the best boundaries are set and executed with love.
The best boundaries are set with an inward focus of "what can I control?" or "how do I want to show up here?"
It sets the other person free to be themselves and do whatever they want, but it gives you clear guidance and direction as to how you show up.
Boundaries are Meant to Be Simple
Another common mistake when it comes to setting boundaries with your teen is overcomplicating the boundary.
Boundaries are meant to be simple.
This will make your life easier and your teen's life easier.
An example of overcomplicating boundaries is when you have complex consequences or rewards for the other person's behavior. Usually the more complex the boundary, the more likely it is that you are actually trying to change, control, or manipulate the other person.
I see this a lot with parents and their teen's grades. Sometimes the parents get super creative and they have tons of different consequences and rewards, depending on what their teen does. The problem is, the more complex things are the more confused everyone will be when it actually comes to the boundary.
Keep boundaries simple for your sake and the other person.
Simple Boundaries = If you ____, I will ____.
Simple boundaries are, "If you _____, I will ______.
"If you yell at me, I will leave the room."
"If you fail math, I will not pay for your phone."
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