Recognising Unhealthy Boundaries with Parents

As we grow older, it is natural that boundaries with our parents shift. As a 3-year-old, we will need someone to come with us to the bathroom, but not as a 12-year-old. 

As we move into the teenage years, it is natural for there to be a big adjustment in family boundaries. It is a tricky time because teenagers are not yet fully grown adults. They are often still living at home and spending family money however feel a huge pull to be more independent of their parents. 

Some boundaries are immutable. For example, it is never okay to be verbally or physically abusive to me. But many boundaries are changeable depending on the situation. For example, you might be okay with your mother helping you parent your child and giving you tips in private, but not in public. 

Most boundary issues I hear about in my clinic regarding parents is about the teenage struggle for agency vs. what their parents think is best for them. I sometimes hear about this still happening with 40-year-old children! Understanding that this interference is driven by love and concern can bring some relief, but new boundaries are still required. 

Have you struggled with boundaries with your parents? What form has this taken? If you feel safe to share, I’d love to hear your experiences.

Xx Jen