Boundaries: Who Needs Them?

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I tell students they will never outgrow their need for boundaries.

And the sooner they learn to establish and maintain them the easier it will be for them to do so later in life.

The flip side of that?

Many students are not being given boundaries at home when they are younger.

Making it more difficult for them to establish and maintain boundaries for themselves when they become teens (or adults for that matter).

This junior is a perfect example of that:

“The one thing that has really stuck out is the need to set boundaries in a dating relationship. This is a challenge for me because I have not had any boundary lines in my life. Everything you said has encouraged me to set boundaries for the first time in my life.”

How sad that at 16/17 years old, this young lady had to figure out how to do something that she should have been doing all her life—setting boundaries!

But she does prove one thing.

I’ts not too late to change course if your daughter struggles with setting and maintaining boundaries.

All it takes is you being willing to say..NO!

As Dr. David Walsh writes in his book, NO: Why Kids—of All Ages—Need to Hear It and Ways Parents Can Say It:

I’m urging you to take a strong parental stance with your children because they depend on you to help them learn to manage their desires so that someday they can do it effectively for themselves.

The reward for saying no comes when our kids are the adults who know when to say no and when to say yes to themselves; who can delay gratification in order to accomplish greater achievements. No is not the goal. It is the road to Yes.

If you want to lead your daughter on the road to “Yes,” help her set boundaries for herself now while she’s still a teen. 

Setting Boundaries Sets Your Daughter Up for Success

I said at the beginning of this post that we all need boundaries.

Adults too.

Can’t you recall a regret (whether relationally, financially, morally, ethically, etc.), that could have been avoided if you’d managed your boundaries better?

I know I can.

And in some cases, we may not have managed them better as adults because we weren’t in the practice of maintaining appropriate boundaries when we were younger.

So, you see why it’s so important to establish this habit at a young age?

When it comes to love, sex, and relationships, this is the time for your daughter to master the habit.

When should teens establish boundaries pertaining to relationships?

I encourage students to establish their boundaries before they enter a dating relationship.

If they wait until they are in a dating relationship to establish them, their boundaries will be based on how they feel about their boyfriend. 

Instead of how they feel about themselves.

The letter below is from a young lady who realized during my presentation the importance of setting boundaries in advance:

“Over the years I have thought about what I would do in a situation of pressure, and I’ve never come to a conclusion. Your presentation made me realize that I need to make up my mind, I need to set boundaries, I need to find goals, or a “yes” to look forward to in life. Thank you for everything. You changed my perspective about sex, relationships, and my future.”


Not only did she realize that she needed to set boundaries in advance, but she also embraced another important message I share with students—the importance of setting goals and finding their “YES.” 

Click here to read the “Just Say YES” blog post.

My goal is to never get another letter from a girl (or guy) stating that she has never had any boundary lines in her life.

You can help me reach that goal by sharing this post with every parent you know, especially parents of small children.

If we have any hope of reducing the number of teens having sex, we can’t continue expecting teens to set boundaries as teens when they didn’t have them as young children. 

Feel free to share this post via email, snail mail, facebook, twitter, linkedin, telephone, telegraph, etc… I’m sure you get the point! wink

The target audience for this blog is parents and/or other adults who work with youth.

If you think any of the youth in your life would benefit from reading my posts, please share the posts with them. This post is one I think would be appropriate to share with the youth in your life.

What are some boundaries that you think are important for parents to establish for their children or for themselves for that matter?

I would love for you to share your thoughts below.


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