Setting Boundaries – Do you know where to draw the line?
Individual boundaries are limits to protect ourselves. We form them by having good self-understanding and clear personal values. Understanding and honoring them are an important part of respecting yourself and others. For instance, if your friend cannot use the phone after 9:00 P. M. and you call at 2:00 A.M. you are not respecting that boundary.
Our values shape our boundaries. Clear boundaries in a relationship help ensure that you are respecting your body and that your partner will respect your values.
We should recognize time and energy boundaries. If we spend all of our time and energy with friends, we would not respect our family, but on the other hand, our family should not expect us to spend all of our time at home. There are exceptions. If a teen has privacy boundaries with their parents, situations where there is a threat to someone’s health or life require that we cross boundaries to seek guidance from parents or a trusted adult.
Many teens in relationships spend all of their time with one another, foregoing time with family and friends and may begin missing regular activities. It may be fun at first to spend all of your time with your new partner, but isolating yourself from your friends and family can be unhealthy and bad for your relationship in the long run. Having other interests and friends gives you something to share with each other. It is okay to have different interests. Pursuing your own interests make you unique!
Spending time with your friends will help you keep some perspective on your relationship and keep balance in your life. Should you break-up, you will value having friends for support. When you consider the short duration of most teen relationships and the value of friendships, it makes good sense to preserve your friendships when you have a dating partner.
Remember that understanding one another’s boundaries helps define a healthy relationship.
Communication is the first step to make sure that you and your partner or your friends are on the same page. To maintain a healthy relationship:
Speak up. Don’t hold it in. In a healthy relationship, it is best to talk about it.
Respect each other. Acknowledge and value one another’s wishes and feelings. Let them know that you keep their ideas in mind. Mutual respect is key to a healthy relationship.
Compromise. It is important to find a way to compromise if you disagree. Try to resolve conflicts in a fair and rational way.
Be supportive. Reassure and encourage one another and let your partner know you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting them down.
Respect privacy. There is no need to share everything and constantly be together in a relationship. Give one another some space.