We are expected to have good boundaries and follow social rules when invited into another person's home. We ring the doorbell, wait to be invited in, and then sit where we are told to sit. We don’t open the cupboards or wander around, and we usually find a way to give a compliment related to the home’s décor. Yet, when children are part of this picture and an adult is left in charge in your home, boundaries can quickly become blurred if good communication and clear expectations are not in place. Many people wonder about how they can best communicate and share family values and maintain boundaries with grandparents, babysitters, other caregivers, and neighbors.
Whether you are wanting to set boundaries related to discipline approaches, expectations for your children’s diet, or areas of your home that are “off limits,” it is essential to have a plan for communicating these desires with the adult in charge. We all know it’s easy for kids to say, “It’s okay, my parents wouldn’t mind” and test the boundaries. This type of situation leaves the well-intended adult in a tricky situation, and they end up using their own values to make a decision, which may not be aligned with your hopes or expectations.
Here are some tips for setting boundaries with other caregivers in your home:
Sara Kind-Michels, MS, LPC, LMFT
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