Setting Boundaries With Family

Hello Reader,

I hope you had a restful and fun July 4th weekend, and if you spent time with your family, you enjoyed them! This isn’t usually about having perfect relationships, it’s more often about setting boundaries which insure that your personal space or couple’s space is honored. This can be as simple as making it clear what arrival and departure times work best, or what to bring to an occasion. It could be as sensitive as giving cues about what subjects are off limits, or what would feel indiscreet. If you are refraining from drinking, setting good boundaries would involve first being clear with yourself about why, and what your action plan is, then if offered drinks, graciously making a “no, thank you” clear to your family. Setting boundaries in relationships protects you and your loved ones from undue hurt, humiliation and anger. And if family members don’t honor your boundaries, you might consider whether your requirements are too rigid or harsh, or if you may need to consider another “venue” for contact which may more readily provide more protective structure. And don’t fret– it takes practice to learn how to do it with finesse, so chances are, if this July 4th was a wipeout, next one will more likely be better.


Susan Lager
P.S.  Check out my published articles about relationship issues at:

Also, look for my soon-to-be-launched website full of couple’s resources at:

About Susan Lager

ABOUT ME Susan Lager, LICSW, BCD I grew up in New Rochelle, a suburb of NYC, lived in Manhattan for ten years during college and graduate school, and escaped the madness for the wilds of Maine to be with Thom, the sweet man I'm still married to after 34 years. (We have an awesome 29 year old son named Alec who will run the free world someday). I knew I'd survive the relocation from New York when I discovered the scenic, historic little city of Portsmouth, on the coast of New Hampshire, with its winding streets, great restaurants, and music everywhere. I was especially thrilled to attend the Portsmouth Psychotherapy Institute, an offshoot of the B.I.P., where I did post-graduate training, and then went into private practice creating The Couples Center PLLC, doing psychotherapy, with individuals, couples and groups. In 2010 I opened a division of the practice called COUPLESPEAK™, providing live and online coaching, training programs, workshops, and written materials for people in different kinds of partnerships. I'm still passionate about the work, which is NEVER boring! My clients are courageous pioneers, and they've taught me lots I'll pass on......
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