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Do You Know The Difference Between Threats And Boundaries?

Fern Weis April 2023

Parent Coach for Moms of Teens: Fern Weis

Wondering why your boundaries aren’t working?

You may be confused about what a boundary actually is. It’s definitely not a threat. And there’s the problem.

Queen Of Threats:

“A boundary is the opposite of a threat.”

I was the queen of threats. Look at these examples from my earlier parenting years:

  • Hang up those wet towels or you’ll find them in your bed. 
  • Shape up, or it’s military school for you.
  • Don’t make me tell you one more time. (As if they actually ‘made’ us do it.)

Does any of this sound familiar? It’s the ‘if-then’ scenario. If they do or don’t do X, there’s a punishment coming. It’s always about them. And is there any follow-through? Usually not. A boundary is the opposite of a threat.

A Boundary Says:

  • This is about me.
  • I’m okay with X, but not with Y.
  • I can tolerate this, but not that.
  • I matter.
  • Here is my line in the sand.
  • This is not a punishment.
  • It’s up to me to protect myself and my needs.

Do you feel the difference? I woke up when I learned this. Before, all I had were threats. Before, avoiding conflict prevented me from following through. I believed I had no real voice. Before, I had a passive, victim mentality. They were doing this to me. Why should my kids have taken me seriously? They knew these were empty threats. Before blurting out a threat, stop and think. 

Setting Boundaries:

“Fixing this can positively influence future generations”

Why is this so important to me? Who and what is it really about? Is it really about chores? Am I feeling overworked and taken advantage of? Or both? When you address an issue with anger, impatience, and punishment in mind, think again. Examine what your kids are learning from this approach, and how they will take it into their relationships and parenting.

Once I knew better, I also knew that I didn’t want this to be my parenting legacy. Fixing this can positively influence future generations (if I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren one day. A not-so-subtle hint.)  

What’s it going to be?

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Fern Weis

About the Author:

Fern Weis is a Parent Empowerment Coach for Moms of Teens and a Family Recovery Coach. She’s also a wife, former middle school teacher, and the parent of two adult children who taught her more about herself than she ever could have imagined.  

Fern partners with moms of teens and young adults, privately and in groups. She helps them grow their confidence to build strong relationships and emotionally healthier kids who become successful adults. She knows first-hand that when parents do the work, the possibilities for change are limitless; that it’s never too late to start; and you don’t have to do it alone. Learn more about Fern at www.fernweis.com. For more support with setting boundaries, and other parenting concerns, contact Fern at [email protected]. She’s been there. Get’s it. And knows better now.