As an adult-child, it is up to you to set boundaries with your parents. Initially, it might feel uncomfortable, but, over time, strong boundaries will strengthen the relationship and allow for a deeper connection.
So, to create a positive adult relationship with your parents, what boundaries do you need as an empowered adult?
Keep in mind, a boundary of respect, for example, is vague and you probably need to define the parameters of respect, so clearly and specifically spell it out in terms of communication and interaction. In all likelihood, you will need to teach your parents how to treat you, speak to you, and behave in ways that reflect respect. It’s also a good idea to invite your mom and dad to establish their boundaries and do your very best to honor them, as well.
Boundaries are set through intention but established with attention!
Effective boundaries require integrity, and this means that you must back-up every boundary with proper and consistent attention. Therefore, don’t expect your parents to automatically know when they are encroaching on a boundary. When people are used to behaving in habitual ways, it takes time to recognize new boundaries and reorganize new behavior accordingly. This means that it’s your responsibility to protect your boundaries, and, therefore, confidentially give clear feedback; tell your mom or dad when they are crossing (or about to cross) a boundary.
However, if either parent doesn’t respect your boundaries, don’t be afraid to limit interactions accordingly, but let them know why, so they have the necessary information to change their behavior. Believe it or not, most parents will eventually learn to respect boundaries, but only if you consistently enforce them first.
Reaping the Rewards
No matter how it seems, childhood wounds always leverage hidden gifts, such as independence, wisdom, or compassion, and without emotional challenges, our best attributes might never be revealed. If you haven’t yet recognized the positive qualities that sprung from your childhood wounds, now would be a wonderful time to do so because the recognition itself can be extremely healing. Indeed, the point is to heal the wounds but keep the benefits!