Newly Married? How to Set Boundaries with Your Parents as You Start Your Own Life

Newly Married? How to Set Boundaries with Your Parents as You Start Your Own Life

When you’re newly married, you’re probably focused on your spouse and creating a life together. Dealing with parents who overstep their boundaries, on the other hand, can make that difficult. Fortunately, there are ways to establish and enforce strict boundaries with your parents while still maintaining your relationship.

1. Discuss your boundaries with your partner.

You and your new spouse should work as a team. While you’re talking to your parents, talk to your partner about the boundaries you need to establish. They may have some insight into what you should say or do, and they may be able to assist you in developing scripting or specific things to say.

You may need to set limits on how much money your parents can lend you, how often they can come over to your house without asking, and even how much time they can spend with your children.

2. Sit down with your parents for a discussion.

Choose a time when everyone is free and no one is stressed. A holiday party is probably not the best time to talk, but a lazy Sunday afternoon is fine. If you believe your parents will cause a commotion, meet in one of your homes. You can also talk in a restaurant or a cafe.

3. Be clear about what you want and need.

Declare your boundaries clearly so that there is no misunderstanding. Remember what you and your partner talked about, and try not to forget anything. If you have any specific examples, please include them as well. “I wanted to talk to you both about coming by the house,” say you. If you’re going to come over, please call or text me at least an hour in advance. That way, I’ll be able to tell you whether or not we’re available.”

“I love you both, but I won’t be able to lend you money any longer.” We want to start a family, so Jerry and I need to start saving.”

4. Be assertive, and don’t back down.

Your parents may appear surprised or offended, but that’s fine. Don’t let them make you feel bad about defending yourself. Remember that you have the authority to set boundaries, and your parents should not be allowed to portray themselves as victims.

You can be compassionate and assertive at the same time. Remind your parents that you love them and are only looking out for themselves and your relationship.

“This doesn’t mean I don’t love you or that I want our relationship to change,” you might say after setting your boundaries. “All I’m doing is what’s best for us as a couple now that we’re married.”

5. Keep your answers short and sweet.

Your parents may have concerns about the boundaries you’ve established. Answer their questions in short, simple phrases so they understand what you’re saying. If they’re trying to get a rise out of you on purpose, keep your emotions in check and try to remain calm.

For example, your parents might inquire, “Does this mean you don’t want us to stop by?” “No, that’s not what I said,” you might say. “All I ask is that you call or text me ahead of time so I know you’re coming.”

6. Practice deep breathing to remain calm.

Setting boundaries can be difficult. Take a few deep breaths and count to ten if you find yourself becoming angry or annoyed with your parents. If you can’t calm yourself down, go for a walk or go to another room until you feel better.

This is especially important if your parents are attempting to manipulate you.

7. Remind yourself that it’s okay to set boundaries.

Setting boundaries is frequently accompanied by feelings of guilt. However, you should not feel bad for asserting yourself and advocating for what you require. Your parents will understand why you need to set these boundaries with them if they truly love you.

If you’re feeling guilty, tell yourself things like, “It’s okay to set boundaries,” “You did a good job setting that boundary, even though it was uncomfortable,” or “Just because you feel guilty doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.”

8. Say no to your parents if they push your boundaries.

At first, your parents may test your boundaries. If they do, simply say no. You are not required to explain yourself, but if you wish, you can remind them of the boundary you established and why you are maintaining it.

For example, if your mother shows up on your doorstep without first calling, you might say, “No, you can’t come in.” Right now, I’m extremely busy. I could have told you that if you had called and saved you a trip.”

9. Stand up for your spouse.

Your parents may try to blame your boundaries on your spouse. Remember that this is not the case, and that you two are now a team. If your parents try to disparage your partner, tell them that it’s unacceptable and that they can’t do so.

“That’s my wife you’re talking about, and I won’t have you talking bad about her when she’s not around,” you say. If there is a problem, we can all sit down and discuss it like adults.”

10. Be polite to your parents.

Even if you’re married, don’t criticise your parents. Invite them to family gatherings and invite them over for dinner on occasion. You can continue to hang out with them and treat them well as long as they respect your boundaries.

If they continue to disregard your boundaries, you may need to sit down with them for another discussion. Inform them that their disrespect is affecting your relationship.

11. Seek professional help if you need to.

When it comes to setting boundaries, many people find therapy to be extremely beneficial. If you grew up with parents who constantly pushed your boundaries, standing up to them can be extremely difficult. If necessary, seek the advice of a mental health professional about your specific situation.

Family counselling can also be beneficial at times, but getting parents to agree to it is usually difficult.

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