Respecting Personal Boundaries

Everyone Needs Personal Space, Including You!

Keep Out Sign
Keep Out Sign. Troy Aossey / Getty Images

Everyone knows how uncomfortable it is whenever our personal space is intruded upon by another person. Sometimes we are the "intruders" who unknowingly cross over into someone's personal space. We can all do better in recognizing and respecting personal boundaries.

Defining personal space within a home or family setting is not always easy. Especially if your living space is limited. It seems unavoidable - boundaries do get blurred. Recognizing when other family members need their personal space isn't always easily detected.

Even in the happiest of marriages or partnerships, individuals need alone time. Children also need time apart from their siblings and parents. However, the luxury of having a quiet room or space to retreat to is not available to everyone. But there are ways you can devise to assure respectful boundaries being honored at times when you desire to be left alone to your thoughts, for quiet time to read a book, or needed solitude to delve into a project without interruption.

Keep Out Signals

Everyone could be given a KEEP OUT sign to display whenever they need personal space. But, for the sake of being less obvious have each person choose an article of clothing that when worn alerts other family members to keep their distance. You might choose to wear a red bandana tied around your neck, or a favorite baseball cap could be worn on your head. For children you may need to set time limits for requesting personal space. For example, eight year old Sally should not be allowed to wear her "little princess tiara" all day long as a devious ploy to duck out of doing her chores. The same goes for parents, when the kids are doing their homework it would be helpful to make yourself available for possible help needed. College roommates would do well to have a similar "boundary system" in place as well.

Everyone needs personal space, including you!

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