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How To Set Emotional Boundaries With Your Kids


“My son is 6’1 and yells in my face...It’s horrible.

“My kids are so needy. They constantly ask me for things. It’s killing me.”

“I can’t trust my kids to be by themselves because they will start fighting or breaking things. I live in constant anxiety."

“When my daughter wants something she will nag and nag and even follow me around the house until I cave! I am dying on the inside.”


A boundaryless home is a nightmare to live in.

A boundaryless home is a haunted house...come to life.


How can a parent enjoy their home, their family or care for themself with children constantly barging in and causing pain or stress?

You can't. 

Parents need emotional boundaries.

Here are some tips on how to set emotional boundaries with kids/teens...and others.


 1. Understand the Definition of Emotional Boundaries

An emotional boundary is not a typical parenting boundary. A typical parenting boundary sounds like,

 “No, you can’t have ice cream for dinner.”

“You are ten years old, no you can’t drive my car.”

“We will not allow vape or drugs in this house.”

“You need to do your chores before you go out.”

 Society is built on healthy boundaries. 

Emotional boundaries are just as important as any type of boundary, yet so many adults (and teens) don’t even know what one is.

Your mental health matters. Your emotions matter. Your privacy matters. Your self-care matters. You matter.

Because you matter, you need to protect yourself from harm and pain. 

While we already naturally do this in society, it can be difficult to bring this mindset into our our own children.  Many parents struggle with co-dependency with their children. (I write more about this HERE.) 

Setting an emotional boundary means we speak up and communicate that we need the space, time or attention, to properly care for ourselves…and that no person...even a child...should cross that line. 

We need boundaries in the workplace. We need boundaries with our spouse. We need boundaries with kids.

They should teach boundaries in school!

I teach more about this in my free, online parenting teens class


2. Boldly Speak Your Boundaries To Your Children…And Use The Word!

 If your family struggles with boundaries, or if your family doesn't have a culture of honoring each other’s boundaries, it will be helpful if you use the word “boundary” when you are setting boundaries. Using this word will help your children (and others) understand what you are doing.  This sounds like…

“I need 20 minutes of alone time to breathe and recharge, please don’t come into my bedroom. You can trust me to come out on time and check-in with you. Can you honor my boundary?"

 “When I am on a phone call please don’t ask me for things. You can trust me to get to you as soon as I am done. This is a boundary I have. Can you honor my boundary?”

“I’d like to go out with my friend tomorrow night, can you please watch the kids? I need some alone time and this boundary.”

 “Please stop touching my purse. This is my personal space and my boundary.”

 “I feel sad when you speak about my beliefs in this way. It’s hard for me. I know you don’t agree. I don’t want to censor you, but it hurts. I’d like to set up a boundary around this."

(If you need help setting boundaries with your kids, contact us for coaching! or check out our classes!

3. Teach The Person Who Violates Your Boundary!


We are always teaching people how we want to be treated.

If someone violates us and we DON'T speak up and tell them they have wronged us, we may be indirectly telling them that it is ok to treat us poorly. 

We may be communicating that we don’t have value, that our feelings don’t matter, and that we aren't human. This is an unhealthy, lesson to teach someone.


This sounds like…(This section directly relates to the examples above.)

 “I feel sad. You agreed to not come into my room, but you did. You violated my boundary. I am hurt. We are not ok.”

“I am feeling violated. You agreed to not interrupt me when I am on a phone call and you crossed my boundary.”

“I want to talk to you more about how we can set and hold healthy boundaries in our relationship which allows me to have alone time with my friends.”

“I am angry. This is my purse. It’s private. I set a boundary with you and you crossed it. We need to talk about boundaries and trust.”

“I am feeling distrustful. You gave me your word and I trusted you to not speak about my beliefs that way…and you broke my trust. We are not ok.”


Stay Strong. Be Close. Teach Wisdom.

Sean Donohue

Family Coach, Founder

Click HERE to go deeper with Sean.

Click HERE  to read "Young Men Are Lions - And Need To To Feel Like One."

Click HERE to read “7 Things EVERY Teen Girl Needs to Hear From Her Parents.”

Click HERE for Sean's article, "Why Teens Need EQ Skills".

Click HERE to read Sean's article, "How To Evaluate Your Teen's Emotional Maturity".

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