Teach your Teen the Importance of Setting Boundaries and Avoiding People-Pleasing

Many people struggle with maintaining healthy relationships, which are characterized by respect, trust, equality, and honesty. Creating healthy relationships is a skill that must be learned, and teens are no exception. Girls, in particular, are more prone to developing the habit of “people-pleasing,” or putting other people’s needs ahead of their own. Although people-pleasing seems like a very nice thing to do, it actually creates an imbalance in their relationships making the person feel resentful, overwhelmed, burned out, taken advantage of, and unfulfilled. Teens need to know that healthy relationships are formed when both people set up and respect personal boundaries. Personal boundaries are the limits that you put in place that allow you to create purpose, peace, and balance in your life. Today’s blog will explain why and how to create boundaries.

Reasons for People-Pleasing

A people-pleaser tends to be someone who says “yes” to almost everything and everyone. There are many reasons behind this behavior, including:

  • A desire to:
    • feel accepted, loved, and valued
    • “fit in” with a group
    • gain approval
    • avoid conflict
    • feel needed through helping others
  • A fear of:
    • being abandoned
    • losing status in a group of friends
    • offending someone or hurting someone’s feelings
    • being judged as rude, selfish, or mean
    • creating tension in a relationship
  • Feelings of guilt for not being “nice”
  • A belief that “good” people are supposed to help others


Results of People-Pleasing

When a person prioritizes others over themselves, they will feel exhausted and overwhelmed. They can quickly become burned out from doing too many things. By putting others first, they neglect and disrespect themselves and their dreams. Their relationships are out of balance, so they can feel taken advantage of, stressed out, and resentful. They often feel anxious, wondering where they stand with other people and when they are going to be asked to do another thing. They can’t create a fulfilling life because they are too busy pleasing everyone else and lack a support system from true friendships.

The Importance of Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries in relationships is critical to a person’s overall mental well-being. Let your teen know these important benefits that setting boundaries provide:

Become Your Best Self. When a person is able to set boundaries, they have more time and energy to devote to the things and people that matter to them and inspire them. This helps them discover their own identity and purpose. They also have a more balanced life which means that they are able to cope with people and situations in a calmer and/or more respectful manner.

Eliminate Unhealthy Relationships. Boundary setting is revealing when it comes to the nature of our relationships. A good friend will honor your ‘no,’ understand it, and respect it. If someone is unwilling to accept that you have different needs than they do, this is likely a sign that this person is not a true friend. If someone argues with you, stops talking to you, or guilts you further into saying yes, you need to evaluate this connection. Although most people-pleasers hate the idea of losing relationships, they are often amazed at how much better they feel when a toxic friendship is over. The goal isn’t to keep all relationships, but to nurture the ones that are mutually beneficial.

Reduce Resentment. When you say yes all the time, you might subconsciously be waiting for the other person to repay your selfless deeds or shower you with gratitude. If that doesn’t happen, resentment grows, which over time ruins the relationship. Setting limits, in fact, reduces strain on your relationships, so that you end up developing trusting friendships that add value to your life.

Reduce Stress. Not having boundaries spikes stress and leads you to feel depleted, disconnected from others, and exhausted. Standing up for yourself is incredibly empowering.

Provide Protection. Boundaries protect us by defining who we are. Setting limits allows us to determine how we will occupy our time, how we will spend our money, what actions we will take, which behaviors we will tolerate, and what information we will share with others.

Final Thoughts…

Now that your teen understands the importance and benefits of setting boundaries, next week’s blog will explain how your teen can set boundaries in their relationships.

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