Parents Relationships Self-Care

4 Ways to Set Boundaries With Your Parents

When we are children our parents (or other caregivers) are responsible for us. We must listen to what they say, as they keep us safe.

However, when this constant watching over you continues when you are an adult it can be very annoying – right?

You don’t want to continue to be treated like a child and have your boundaries crossed.

Are you experiencing any of the following from your parents?

  • Judgemental comments about your diet and body
  • Loads of phone calls wanting to know your every move
  • Being told you need to meet someone and get married
  • Constant uninvited advice about how you’re looking after your children

Here are 4 tips to help you set some boundaries with your parents.

1. Think about your responses

It’s likely your parents might not even realise they are crossing a boundary and making you upset. Try to resist the urge to explode as this is unlikely to get you anywhere.

Instead, you might want to think about how you could find a way of letting them know how you feel when they say/do the things they do. Try to get them onside for working out a plan for what might work better going forward.

man, talking, talk, desk, bright, sun, young, conversation

2. It’s OK to say “no”

You have likely learned, as a lot of people do, that it’s hard to say “no”. Maybe you think saying “no” is rude and feels uncomfortable to do.

Learning to say “no” when you don’t want to do something can be very helpful as it lets the other person (in this case, your parents) know that what they are asking for is something you don’t want to do.

It might help to think about ways of lightening the way you say “no”. For example, instead of saying “no way” or “absolutely not”, you might want to say, “I’ll think about it”, “maybe later” or “I don’t think that’s going to work for me”.

3. Compromise

Try to find a compromise that works for you all.

For example, if you parents call you three times a day and you find that too much, explain to them why frequent calls don’t work for you. But also listen to why they want to call you so often. Listen to each other.

Explore how often you would like to speak and try to find a compromise.

young, man, sad, covering, eyes, blinds, window, thinking

4. Your needs are important too

It can be tempting to avoid talking about boundaries as you may worry that you hurt your parents’ feelings. However, if you don’t do or say anything it’s likely that you will continue to let them hurt your feelings.

Setting boundaries doesn’t have to be about choosing whose feelings matter; instead, it should be about you valuing your own needs and feelings, and sharing these with your parents to help them appreciate that as an adult you need to make your own life choices and decisions.

Setting boundaries can be hard and uncomfortable but hopefully it will be worth it.

Good luck!

Image of the author, Chloe Foster

Chloe Foster has a background in working in mental health and youth work. Today she runs Sussex Rainbow Counselling where she specialises in counselling LGBTQ clients online.

Chloe holds a postgraduate diploma in psychotherapeutic humanistic counselling from The University of Brighton. She is also an approved accredited registrant member of the National Counselling Society, and an accredited gender, sexuality and relationship diversities therapist with Pink Therapy.


  • I Don't know what to do
    I have this friend that I met technically on the first day of college, also the first person I spoke to. In that first week, things were pretty good between us you know, I thought we could be good friends because well she even asked for my number so I just thought I've met a […]
  • Laughing at pain
    today was grade 8 farewell. The teachers gushed on and on about what good leaders we have been. How, in any universe, could that be. My class has been inappropriate and stupid and disrespectful. But they called us angels? It was kind of sad hearing how much teachers worshipped the bullies.
  • I don't know if I'm bi
    I'm very confused about my sexuallity, very recently I've been feeling bi but then another minute I feel straight. I also have classmates that can be very judgmental and I feel if I tell my classmates they be unsupportive, I want to come out but don't know how to please help my bi crisis.
  • Should I leave my bsf?
    So, I have an issue. My now partner of almost 2 years (we’re doing a break rn so kinda my partner), anyways, they don’t like me talking to my ex. The ex in question is my bsf of 8+ years. Me and this ex dated for a year and a few days. I was never […]
  • Hi :)
    I’d prefer to keep my name confidential, but hi :) My pronouns are she/they, and I’m very gay. I’m 17 and just tryna figure stuff out. Hope i can get advice that helps me :)
  • Confused about sexuality and Christian
    I'm a female currently in a long term relationship with a man. I've only dated men. I have been interested in women but my religion goes against it. I'm not sure how to navigate these feelings. I am unsure about my current relationship in many aspects and would like to date other men and possibly […]