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Balanced boundaries is better

Boundaries are rules that we expect people to live by. Groups of people have them to help make life run smoother. There is a balance between having not enough and too many boundaries. But the point of balance is not always in the centre.
Being overly restrictive with too many rules and we invite rebellion and feelings of injustice. While everyone needs to have some type of discipline, being too strict can have consequences for the way some people behaviour. They can loose hope if they feel all the rules are against them and do not provide them with any benefit. With everything they do being seen as overstepping a boundary, they can begin to feel they have nothing to loose because whatever they do will land them in trouble. This can mean they just don’t care any more and the behaviour becomes more troublesome. It might mean they use worse behaviour as they think they might as well make the punishment worth it. Or the opposite can occur and they will not try anything for fear of consequences or punishment. This restricts their growth and potential.

Boundaries help protect the rights of everyone rather than allowing the strongest do whatever they want. So that means boundaries should not about gaining power over someone. It is about creating a situation that everyone is respected and safe. Being too lax will see the boundaries being constantly pushed and a free for all can occur that will lead to conflict and lack of respect. This can lead to some people being unable to maintain self control. If they feel that they can do whatever they want, this can also lead to social difficulties. As the behaviour impacts others it can negatively effect those relationships because of feelings of being used or abused.

Different circumstances require different solutions. There is no hard and fast rules about what, where and how many boundaries should be used to control behaviour. But three fundamentals stand out for me. These are having boundaries around respect, assertive communication and safety. If these can underpin everyones expectations about boundaries, then getting a good balance will become simpler.
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