If your stepkids don’t respect your boundaries and limits, you are not alone.
This is so common!
*Especially if you have limited authority and influence over her stepkids to actually enforce consequences*
And if this is you, there’s a very good reason why your boundaries aren’t effective right now –
And it’s got nothing to do with you as a human. You are worthy of respect.
The number one reason your boundaries don’t work right now is because of *how* you’re setting them.
The most effective boundaries rely entirely on OUR own behavior, and no one else’s.
You probably were never taught how to do this – I know I wasn’t!
So here’s what does NOT work:
Let’s say your stepson is yelling at you. If you just tell him to stop yelling at you, that may or may not actually work – simply because it relies on HIM to change. So he keeps yelling and then you get fed up and lash out, or shut down. Or go and complain to your partner afterwards (we’ve all been there!)
Here’s what actually WORKS:
Same scenario – your stepson is yelling at you. But instead, you address his emotions.
And then enforce your boundary.
You say: “Hey kiddo. I can see you’re upset and angry right now, but I don’t want to be yelled at. When you’re ready to chat calmly, I’m all ears.” And then you walk away. And you wait, until he can speak to you calmly.
In both scenarios, your stepson yells.
But in the second scenario, you don’t hang out with him while he’s doing it. You don’t engage until he’s calm.
And when you walk away, you’re teaching him HOW to treat you – what you will and will not tolerate.
And I know what you might be thinking – ”Sounds easier said than done, Kristin!”
I agree with you! And especially at first – it’s like learning to ride a bike. You’re a little shaky, and fall down.
But no matter what (just like riding a bike) this is a skill you can learn, practice, and get really good at.
And the beautiful thing is that this one simple switch in how you set limits and boundaries…
can be all it takes for you to enjoy more comfortable and peaceful relationships at home.