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  • Writer's pictureArlette J Back


Updated: Nov 4, 2019

Establishing boundaries is probably as difficult as parenting in my book. Helping my clients to establish boundaries?...equally challenging. Also difficult – helping children establish them at school. Navigating what they look like, feel like, and even recognizing when one is needed can be exhausting.

My parents live in Kansas….very close, but different universe. I grew up here but my mother moved there when I was in college. On my first visit I noticed that there were no fences surrounding every home, and those that existed were 3 or 4 feet tall and decorative in nature. I thought...Well, what do these people do if they want to get away from their neighbors? I found that the people in this community were very adept at setting boundaries. Each little house had its own set of boundaries like "unwritten rules” and everyone in town knew what they were and adhered to them. How did they accomplish this?

In a famous play by August Wilson, Fences was metaphoric for something much deeper – an emotional wall between members in a family. What do boundaries look like for you? How do we distinguish whether they are healthy or unhealthy? On several occasions this has come up in conversations, both personally and professionally. This is where counseling can benefit us in becoming aware of our limitations and figuring out what to do if someone crosses that line. Sometimes we need help in verbalizing our needs and understanding what we are capable of.

I leave you with this quote: The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say “No” to almost everything. – Warren Buffett.

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