A life without boundaries is a life in chaos. You never know what to expect.You feel stressed out, overwhelmed and resentful. 

Boundaries help you to know and understand what your limits are, to ensure you don’t get walked all over by others, taken for granted or taken advantage of. Boundaries actually give you more freedom – to be yourself and to enjoy others. You’re the only person responsible for your own happiness and well-being. No one else can do it for you.

If saying no is hard for you, think of the impact saying yes to everything has on your life at this moment. Need help with setting healthy boundaries? Here are a few tips:

Know your limits
Knowing yourself is the key to creating and maintaining good boundaries. Know your emotional, mental, and physical limits. Work out what makes you feel uncomfortable or stressed and what feels good.

Learn how to interpret your feelings
In assessing where your limits are, you’ll have felt a range of different emotions. Two key emotions that signal that your boundaries are being crossed are resentment and discomfort. If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, not appreciated, or even being exploited, that’s a sign you’re being pushed beyond your limits, and it’s time to restate those limits and say no.

Give yourself permission to enforce your boundaries

Give Yourself Permission To Say NO!

I love Brené Brown’s permission slips. I carry them in my pockets to remind myself that it’s okay to say no. In fact, it’s essential for your self-respect to uphold your boundaries and refuse any unreasonable requests from your stepkids, your partner or the ex. There’s no room for guilt or self-doubt in this. Having clear boundaries and sticking to them isn’t selfish. In putting yourself first, you’re ensuring that you’ll have the energy to do the things you want to do and be there for your family when its right for you.

Be clear about what’s up for negotiation
Know what you need to stay happy and healthy, whether it’s your daily walk, a chat with your girlfriend, or yoga practice. Make it clear to everyone in your home that these are non-negotiable parts of your daily schedule. Similarly, be clear that you won’t be the maid, taxi-driver, or gofer for your stepkids – unless you’re OK with this. Being clear and direct about your boundaries leaves no room for doubt, guilt, or leverage.

Be direct
When you’re clear about your limits, you don’t need an excuse, a backstory, or a note from your spouse. Be direct and leave it at that. You can be polite and kind about it, but in the end, it’s okay just to say no and keep your boundaries strong.

Like anything in life, there are no guarantees except that if you don’t try at least one of these suggestions, nothing will change. That I know for sure.

So tell me, which one will you be implementing in life today? Comment below and I’ll be happy to support you in your journey to creating strong and healthy stepfamilies, one STEP at a time.

Why do we need boundaries? In order to have healthy and safe relationships, we need boundaries. They help us to keep unacceptable behaviors out while, at the same time, allowing you to let acceptable behaviors in. Think of them as being similar to a fence with a gate. You’re the one in charge of opening and closing that gate.

Need help with issues in your stepfamily? Not sure where to start?  Read more in the Stepmom’s Book of Boundaries available on Amazon


  1. Debra Oakland

    I love this post Claudette. Boundaries are an important aspect of life. Learning to set them is a challenge for many. It’s part of our growth experience…the power of contrast. Thank you for these excellent tips!

    • StepmomCoach

      Glad that you enjoyed these tips. Boundaries are everywhere in our lives. We don’t tend to think about them until we are confronted by these limits or someone trespasses them. They do keep us safe and secure when our boundaries are set in healthy ways.
      Thanks for your feedback.

    • StepmomCoach

      I’m glad you enjoy this post. I agree with you that part of what people find most challenging around boundaries is in setting them and then to enforce them once you’ve shared with others what they were. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Ana S.P. Coffey

    Great article. Boundaries can be such an intimidating thing for many people, this breaks it down into some simple considerations. I really had to learn a lot about boundaries as I was breaking my habit of co-dependent relationships and working on increasing my self-worth.

    • StepmomCoach

      Thank you Ana. When we think about it, boundaries aren’t that complicated. It’s all about what’s OK and what’s not OK. Where I find people struggle with the most is voicing what there boundaries are. I’m glad that you were able to break away from your habit of co-dependency. I’m sure it must of been a challenge for you.

  3. Barb Parcells

    I’m passing this on to my 47 year old daughter. I keep telling her I’m getting her a T-shirt that says “Just Say No!”

    • StepmomCoach

      Love It!!! I think more of us need that kind of t-shirt. 😉

  4. Laura

    Was having this conversation yesterday about healthy boundaries. It’s so refreshing to see addressing this topic written. Thank you.

    • StepmomCoach

      Glad that you had this discussion. I found boundaries to be a topic that many hesitate to have for fear of sounding pushy or bossy.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.