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“I’m All Grown-Up Now” – How to Set Boundaries with Your Family

Setting Boundaries with FamilyIt’s hard to set boundaries with anyone. But it can be especially tricky with your own family. You don’t want to hurt them or push them away. But, you also need to stand up for yourself and remind them that you’re  “all grown-up now.”

So, what can you do?

Give the Benefit of the Doubt

It helps to remember that most of the time your family has good intentions. They want to be a part of your life. They want to be close to you. And most of all, they want to help. 

You’re Not a Kid Anymore  

Sometimes you have to remind your family that you don’t need the same kind of help you needed when you were a kid. You can let them know you appreciate their concern, but you function just fine every day in the adult world without them. If they still don’t get it, let them know you respect their opinion; but you need to make your own choices since you’ll be the one who has to live with the outcome of your decisions.

The Broken Record

You might have to say the same thing many different times and many different ways before your family really hears you. And actions speak louder than words. When they see that you’re doing just fine on your own, they will begin to relax and let go. But be prepared for periodic setbacks. After all, in their eyes, you’ll always be their little girl, boy, sister or brother.

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

Some families or some family members really are dysfunctional. They will run over you and your boundaries no matter what you do or say. That’s when it’s time to practice “tough love.” You may need to put a lot of space between you and them — physically and emotionally. This could mean fewer and shorter visit. And you might want to be careful about what you share with them. This will feel awkward and uncomfortable at first. But, it may be the only way to take care of yourself.

Take Action: If you’re in the L.A. area and you’d like to find out how your family relationship patterns could be keeping you from finding love, join me at my new Relationship Seminars, starting January 11th

Vonda (“Vondie”) Lozano, Ph.D., is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Certified Hypnotherapist. She’s been featured in Cosmopolitan, the Wall Street Journal and on KABC Talk Radio. Vondie offers hypnosis, counseling, and workshops in Ventura. Nearby cities include Camarillo, Ojai and Oxnard.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • jaimie

    Thank you for the affirmation that my decision to put some distance between myself and a family member that doesn’t respect boundaries is ok when you have tried everything else.

    • Dr. Vondie

      Absolutely! Some family members don’t respect healthy boundaries. That’s when it’s safest to love them from a distance.

      Take good care of yourself, Jaimie.

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