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  • Writer's pictureKennedy McLean

5 Steps to Setting Boundaries

1. Clearly identify your boundary.

Get clear about what the boundary is that you need. Boundaries don’t need to be all or nothing, they just have to be clear. Take some time to figure out what you need before you take action.

2. Understand why you need the boundary.

You need to understand why you are setting the boundary. Why is this important to you? If you aren’t sure of this, you are less likely to follow through.

3. Be straight forward; don’t apologize or give long explanations.

You are doing nothing wrong by setting a boundary so don’t feel like you need to apologize for it.

4. Use a calm and polite tone.

Keep your anger in check. Don’t try to set boundaries in the middle of an argument, it is not the right time and your request will not be heard.

5. Don’t make it personal.

Example: You agree to drive your 20 something son to school on your way to work this week because their car is being fixed. You pride yourself on promptness and are feeling resentful as this is the fourth day in a row that you have been waiting in the car for 15 minutes as your son saunters out of the house.

Scenario A: You snap and say “You are so ungrateful how dare you make me wait. You can take the bus from now on!”

Scenario B: You say “I need to be on time for work. I am happy to drive you but I cannot wait for you so if you can not be ready when I am leaving I will have to leave without you.”

About Kennedy

Kennedy has been working in the field of addiction and mental health for 10 years. She currently runs a virtual private practice treating clients throughout Ontario.   

Kennedy's practice currently focuses on trauma, attachment, couples therapy. Associate therapists work with people of all ages experiencing a wide range of concerns such as stress, depression, anxiety, relationship distress, and grief for example.

Anything written in blog posts are the thoughts of Kennedy. They are intended to offer information that may be interesting or useful for contemplation.


Nothing written is intended to be a substitute for seeking professional help.

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