Sep 29th, 2011
Definition: The emotional and physical space that we place between ourselves and others. Setting proper boundaries is important to our mental health. When appropriate boundaries are not set, we run the risk of becoming either too detached from or too dependent upon others.
Why is it so difficult to set boundaries with my young person?
Adolescents are by their nature rebellious, self centred and preoccupied. If as their social care workers, you try to set boundaries for them, they will not always adhere to it. Instead, boundaries need to be made together with social care workers and young person both playing an active role in the discussion.
How can I successfully set boundaries with my young person?
Boundaries are created when they are:
- realized, and
All four steps for boundary setting must be taken collaboratively with social care workers and young persons in agreement.
1. How is a Boundary defined?
Boundaries are any qualities a social care workers desire their young person possess, or vice versa. Boundaries can be agreed upon with your young person for a variety of issues: From obeying a curfew, to participating in chores around the house, to managing time for activities such as hobbies, schoolwork, family activities, etc. Boundaries, created by social care workers, must be communicated openly, and honestly to young person. They must neither insinuate blame, nor judgment of a young person if they are not immediately understood or adhered to.
2. How is a Boundary inherited?
Boundaries are the most successful when inherited by a young person, from his or her social care workers. In other words, social care workers need to model the qualities they want their young person to value. If there is a quality you think is important which you possess, then embrace it. If you wish your young person to inherit this quality, then articulate to him or her why it is important he or she inherit it.
3. How is a Boundary realized?
The boundaries you set as a social care workers will only be successful if they are realized by your young person as his or her own. When setting boundaries you must accept the reality that they may not become permanent fixtures of a young person’s personality. Limits and expectations social care workers set for their young person are artificial. They only work if the young person chooses to respect them. A boundary is only as solid as the young person who allows it to exist.
4. Why do Boundaries need to be adjustable?
Finally, boundaries are the most successful when they are adjustable. While it true elementary aged young person might follow directions simply because there is a social care worker instructing them to do so, setting boundaries is not as straightforward with young people. Young people will criticize, challenge and question the boundaries you try to set for them, if you do not include them in the creation process by communicating honestly and openly with them. Listen to what your adolescent has to say. Be open to revision, should your young person raise an objection. And be ready to discuss with your young person what he or she believes is necessary to embrace the boundary as his or her own.