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Threats or Boundaries? (“I Set Boundaries and My Kids Ignore Them!”) by Fern Weis, Parent Coach

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Threats or Boundaries? (“I Set Boundaries and My Kids Ignore Them!”) by Fern Weis, Parent Coach, Bergen County Moms

There’s a lot of confusion about what a boundary is and isn’t. It definitely is not a threat.

I was the queen of threats, of ‘if this, then that’. Here are some parenting examples, from me:

· Hang up those wet towels or you’ll find them in your bed.

· Shape up, or it’s military school for you.

· Don’t make me tell you one more time. (As if they actually made me do it.)

Do you see a pattern here? Can you relate?

If they do X, they’ll be punished with Y.

It’s all about the other person.

And is there any follow-through? Usually not.

A boundary is a whole other animal; it’s the opposite of a threat.

A boundary says:

· This is about me because I matter.

· I can tolerate this, but not that.

· Here is my line in the sand.

· This is not a punishment.

· It’s what I must do to protect myself and my needs.

Can you feel the difference? It was a true awakening when I learned this.

Before, all I had were threats.

Before, fear of conflict prevented me from following through.

Before, I believed I had no real voice.

Before, I had a passive mentality. They were doing this to me.

Why should my kids have taken me seriously? They were empty threats.

Before you blurt out a threat, stop, breathe and think.

Why is this so important to me?

Who and what is it really about?

Is it about chores? feeling overworked and underappreciated? or both?

If you address the issue with anger, impatience and punishment in mind, think again.

And then think about what your kids are learning from this approach, and how they will take it into their relationships and parenting. Set a boundary instead. Your children are waiting for you to do this.

P.S. Is setting boundaries challenging for you? Let's have a 15-minute call and see what's really going on. Email me at or click here to JOIN my private FB group.

Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.

Learn more about coaching and classes at And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit


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