There’s a bunch of stuff we do that doesn’t really seem like it should matter. We don’t eat off each other’s plates. We don’t walk around naked, and we shut the door to the bathroom when we’re using it. We don’t impose our problems or our needs on other people. We don’t articulate every thought that pops into our head and keep some things to ourselves. We stop letting our kids sleep in our bed after a certain point.
Again, none of these things matter too much on their own. But collectively, they fall under the category of boundaries. Boundaries are a thing we want our kids to have and really the only way to teach them is by having them ourselves.
If we want kids who know their own space, know what’s appropriate and what isn’t, what will hurt other people and what brings a smile to someone’s face, then we’re going to have to show them. It’s pretty simple…but that’s not the same as easy. Because if there is anyone or anywhere you’re inclined to let boundaries go, it’s at home with your family. Who better to overshare with, to let your guard down with, to let it all hang out with.
But you can’t. Because a lot is at stake. No one is saying you have to be Queen Elizabeth II at home (“That’s an awfully personal question” she says to her doctor on The Crown when he asks which castle is her favorite.”) but you can’t be a hot mess either. You have to be contained within yourself…if you want to raise self-contained and self-sufficient kids too.