Healthy Boundaries for Teens
what are boundaries?
Setting boundaries is an important part of any relationship. To have the healthiest relationship, both partners should know each other’s wants, goals, fears, and personal limits. Each person should feel comfortable communicating their honest needs without being afraid of what the other person might do in response. If a partner does not respect those needs, or goes against what the other person is comfortable with to a point where they don’t feel safe, that’s a sign of an unhealthy relationship and crossing personal boundary lines.
Choosing what to share when ready | Spending time apart | Allowing others to feel upset without needing to “fix” the situation in some way.
Self-Care | Greetings and interactions | Personal body space
Posting relationship status or personal details | Using each other’s devices | Sharing passwords
Examples of Healthy Boundaries
- Respect Each Other
Be respectful by asking what the other person what it is they want to do and by not trying to control one another. Show you care for each other by truly listening and sharing thoughts and feelings.
- Have Common Interests
In order to do so, first you should understand yourself and the personal goals or values you have for your life but, at the same time, try to do things that the other person enjoys as well.
- Stand Up for Yourself
If someone crosses a boundary of yours– whether it’s once, twice, or repeatedly and it’s something you’re not comfortable–then, be affirmative and assertive that you wont tolerate being treated in that particular way.
- Have a Personal Life
Outside of the relationship, each person should feel free enough to have their own friends and interests. Make sure you keep up with schoolwork, friends, and other activities you’re interested in.
- Settle Disagreements Peacefully
It is only natural for people to disagree. The important thing is trying to reach an agreement with a good attitude– whether its about movies, music, favorite sports, or even where you want to go or what you decide to do together.
Examples of Unhealthy Boundaries
- Putting yourself down
Feeling lower or thinking less of yourself because of someone else’s opinion may indicate an unhealthy friendship/relationship.
- Controlling behavior
A little bit of jealousy is normal, but too much jealousy can turn into needing to know where each person is at all times while also not allowing time with other friends.
- Pressured into giving in
Saying “if you really cared” or “I would do it for you” shows someone does not respect boundaries.
- Letting others determine who you should be
Controlling what to wear or how to act is an example of an unhealthy boundary.
- Trying to change someone else
One person tells the other, “its my way or no way”
- Being held back
- Someone doesn’t want the other to succeed, or are made to feel guilty about doing things that interest them.
- Making excuses or being blamed for the other person’s problems
Crossing the Line
It takes honest conversation to work things out–insulting, name-calling, or manipulating a partner indicate verbal abuse in a relationship.
Pushing, shoving, hitting, or kicking in anger are all signs that physical abuse in a relationship has gone too far. Seek advice from trusted adults, counselors, or coaches to help separate.
Controlling Behavior or Forced Sex
Someone who exhibits controlling behavior may also isolate his/her partner from friends, restrict the partner’s involvement in extracurricular activities, or require knowledge about significant other’s whereabouts at all times.
Threats Receiving explicit threats or fearing impending physical/verbal abuse indicates unhealthy boundaries in a relationship.
Blame or Shame
Making excuses for your partners behavior, and blaming yourself for being mistreated only keeps you in an unhealthy relationship.
Controlling one another’s social media accounts by insisting to have access is a form of digital abuse
Photos & Sexting
Someone who tries to demand, manipulate, coerce, or even threaten with sending or forwarding a sext could face criminal charges.
Love is Respect works to empower youth to prevent and end dating abuse. Features Online Chat 24/7/365, hotline number, and text line.
Common Sense Media Helps families make smart media choices, and offer the largest, most trusted library of independent age-based and educational rating and review for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites, books, and music.
MTV’s A Thin Line campaign empowers parents and teens to identify, respond to, and stop the spread of digital abuse in their life and amongst peers.
Break the Cycle inspires and supports young people to build healthy relationships and create a culture without abuse. Learn warning signs, legal protection, and research.