Siblings are the people who know us best – and also the people who know how to push all of our buttons. For better or for worse, we’re stuck with our siblings for life. And while it’s important to maintain a healthy relationship with them, it’s also important to set boundaries.
In this post, we’ll give you five tips on how to set healthy boundaries with your siblings.
Define Your Personal Space.
Okay, so you’ve defined your personal space – now what? The next step is to make sure that your siblings understand it. This can be a little tricky since they’ve probably been pushing your boundaries since the day you were born. But there are a few ways to make it clear that you’re not going to put up with their crap anymore.
First, start by setting some rules. If they come into your room without knocking, tell them that they need to knock from now on. If they call you late at night, tell them that you’re not available after 10 pm. And if they start crossing the line, tell them firmly and politely that you’re not going to tolerate it.
If all else fails, try using a guilt trip – it’s their favourite weapon, after all. But be careful not to use it too often, or they’ll start to ignore your boundaries altogether.
Keep Communication Lines Open.
Setting boundaries with your siblings can be tough, but it’s important to have some ground rules in order to keep the peace.
Here are ways to get the ball rolling;
- Talk openly and honestly about how you’re feeling.
- Don’t take their behaviour personally.
- Keep communication lines open.
- Set boundaries and enforce them.
- Celebrate your successes – and theirs.
Establish Ground Rules.
You may not be able to choose your family, but you can choose how to interact with them. Setting boundaries is an essential part of any relationship, and it’s especially important when you’re dealing with siblings.
But where do you start? Here are some methods for this subtopic
- Establish some ground rules upfront.
- Communicate clearly and respectfully.
- Avoid getting into a power struggle.
- Maintain your stance, but be willing to compromise.
- Set limits on how much time you’re willing to spend with them.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No.
You may be thinking, “I can’t just say no to my siblings – they’re family!” But the truth is, you can (and should) set boundaries with your siblings. Here are ways to do it:
- Decide what behaviours you’ll and won’t tolerate from them.
- Express your feelings in a clear and concise way.
- Avoid taking things personally.
- Don’t be afraid to say no.
- Keep to your principles (even if it means enforcing consequences).
Seek Outside Support.
If you can’t seem to get them to back off, it might be time to seek outside support. Talk to your parents, a therapist, or a trusted friend. Sometimes we all need an outsider’s perspective to help us see the situation more clearly. And if they still don’t listen? Well, then it might be time for the nuclear option. Cut off communication completely until they realize how serious you are. It’s not ideal, but it might be the only way to get through to them.
You know your siblings better than anyone, so you’re the best person to set some boundaries. However, here’s a summary of the best ways to set boundaries with your siblings.
Write out a list of things that are off-limits, both physically and emotionally. This can include anything from touching your stuff to insulting you.
When they cross the line, let them know calmly and firmly that you do not appreciate it. Stick to your guns, even if they start whining or trying to guilt trip you.
Set a specific day and time for family gatherings. This gives you a chance to plan your own week without worrying about offending anyone.
Establish rules for communication. Make sure they understand that it’s not okay to contact you whenever they want – you’re not their personal assistant!
Create some distance emotionally. This doesn’t mean you have to stop talking to them – just make sure your conversations are friendly, playful and respectful.