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What types of boundaries do I have with my children?

Lynne Kenney
Psychology
The Interpersonal Boundary
The interpersonal boundary is essentially where you end and another person begins. You set interpersonal boundaries with your children in physical space. When you step in front of your child so that he does not touch the ornaments on the Christmas tree, you are setting a boundary. When you tell your child, “Don’t touch the light socket,” you are establishing a boundary. The interpersonal boundary can also be emotional. Your emotional boundaries define the space in which you experience psychological comfort. When you speak to your child in a demeaning or sarcastic tone, you are not respecting their interpersonal boundaries.

The Space Between
As your child grows she begins to experience the space between you as a place to work, love, share and grow. As you sit on the floor to play or hold her hand walking to the ‘fridge for juice, she experiences the space between you as a place of comfort and security. The Space Between boundary marks the emotional and physical space between you and another person. If you are thinking in pictures, the space between is the white space. It is open and empty. I think of the space between as a “working space” where problems are solved, solutions are generated, and skills are built.

The Space Within
The Space Within boundary is the area within yourself where you define your value-based rules for emotional and physical health. Helping your children know where their own internal boundaries exist is very important. For one child, the critical glance or mean tone of another person might feel quite hurtful. That tells you that, for him, an internal boundary has been crossed.

 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.