Summer is a great time to practice setting boundaries with kids

Jun 24, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. ET
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We know the work and school systems between fall and summer pretty well. Then comes summer and everything changes.

We might be finding ourselves in new places and situations, with people we don't see too often, with friends and friends of friends, and family we know well and don't know so well. This is a good time to remember Stop Giving It Away because we talk a lot about setting boundaries.

These are limits we place on ourselves and others that keep us safe, happy and prevent us from feeling overwhelmed or unhappy.

A good indication of needing to set a boundary is your comfort level. In my book, I write about the pressure women feel to go along with the systems around them, keep things nice, avoid conflict, avoid going against the grain, which could be the mom or your honey who makes plans for you, rather than with you... or kids rampaging through your house with muddy feet and wet clothes... or house guests who are taking over your house.

Boundaries shape how we're treated.

Drawing your personal boundary lines and taking steps to make sure they're respected is essential to feeling happy and safe. When we give it away, we're telling those around us that we are willing to flex, or even break, our personal boundaries in order to satisfy their wants and needs.

1. Speak up and be specific

It is amazing how unclear we can be with our communication without realizing it.

"Yes, honey, I would like to have the neighbors over for a barbecue too, but I need more than 30 minutes notice going forward. Will that work for you?"

2. Set expectations with kids and others ahead of time.

For example, tell your kids before you go to the pool what the expectations are.

"We are going to probably leave around one, so we can have a siesta and rest in the afternoon."

"You will have to put on sunscreen every few hours."

3. Be prepared for push back.

Yes. You will probably get some whining and a few frowns. Just say, "Yes, I know other people aren't wearing a life jacket but we will wear a life jacket on the boat."

4. Push through the guilt when people get upset at your boundaries. It is OK.

As women we don't want to disappoint, cause conflict or feel guilty. Often, we don't set boundaries to avoid these feelings. It will backfire on you, though, so just so ahead and push through. You will feel better in the long run.

5. Lastly, make sure you plan some time for you this summer!

Plan "me" time this summer to fill your tank. It is easy to lose track of your own wants and desires. Not good!

One of the most important tips I can bring to you today is one I myself, and I think a lot of us, forget about year-round, which is that it's OK to just be still, to not have plans, to hang around the house and smell and see summer for the lovely things it has to offer.

Cherilynn Veland, MSW, LCSW, is a self-advocacy expert and counselor with deep experience in women's issues, stress, abuse and addiction. She is author of the book Stop Giving It Away, which is available now at Barnes & Noble. Stop Giving It Away won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Award. Connect on Facebook and at Cherilynn's website,