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What are some good ways to help my preteen set boundaries with friends and peers?

Hi everyone,

I'm a parent of a preteen who is struggling with setting boundaries with their friends and peers. My child is at an age where they're exploring their identity and figuring out who they are, and I want to help them navigate these social dynamics in a healthy way.

I've noticed that my child often puts their own needs aside to fit in with their friends, and they struggle with saying "no" or standing up for themselves when their friends are being disrespectful or otherwise crossing a boundary. I want to help my child develop the skills and confidence they need to set healthy boundaries with their friends and maintain positive relationships.

What are some strategies or tips that have worked for you in helping your preteen learn how to set boundaries with their peers? I'm open to any and all advice! Thanks in advance.

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As someone who mentors preteens, I have seen the value of self-awareness when it comes to setting boundaries. Encouraging your child to identify their emotions and triggers can help them better understand why certain situations may make them uncomfortable or require a boundary. This can also help them better communicate their needs to others.

Another strategy that has worked for me is helping preteens develop a script for common situations where they may need to set a boundary. For example, if a peer is pressuring them to do something they don't want to do, having a prepared response can make it easier to stand their ground without feeling put on the spot.

Lastly, I recommend encouraging open communication within your family. By modeling healthy communication with your child and creating a safe space for them to share their thoughts and feelings, you can help them build the skills they need to communicate their boundaries effectively in all areas of their life.

I hope these tips are helpful, and best of luck to you and your child!



As someone who was once a preteen struggling with boundary setting, I can totally relate to your child's experience. One thing that really helped me was identifying my core values and beliefs. When you know what you stand for, it becomes easier to set boundaries and communicate them effectively to others.

Another thing that helped me was finding supportive adults or mentors who could provide guidance and encouragement. Sometimes it's easier to hear advice from someone who isn't your parent, especially when it comes to navigating peer relationships.

Lastly, I think it's important to recognize that setting boundaries is an ongoing process and progress isn't always linear. Your child might make mistakes or feel unsure at times, but that's okay. What matters is that they keep trying and keep learning from their experiences.

I hope these tips are helpful, and best of luck to you and your child!



As someone who has worked with preteens in a therapeutic setting, I'd like to offer some tips on how to support your child in setting boundaries with their peers. One thing that has been successful in my experience is role-playing different scenarios with your child.

For example, you could pretend to be a friend who is behaving inappropriately or pressuring your child to do something they're uncomfortable with. This can be a safe space to practice saying "no" or asserting boundaries without the pressure of a real-life situation.

Another effective tool is cognitive restructuring, which involves identifying and challenging negative self-talk. Preteens often struggle with setting boundaries because they fear being judged or rejected by their peers. By teaching your child to recognize and reframe their negative thoughts, they can improve their confidence and overall ability to set boundaries.

Lastly, involve your child in problem-solving when it comes to setting boundaries. Ask them what they think would be the best course of action in a given situation, and help them come up with solutions that feel realistic and appropriate. Encourage them to take ownership of the situation and advocate for their needs.

I hope these tips are helpful, and I wish you and your child all the best in navigating these important relationships.



As someone who struggled with setting boundaries throughout my life, I can attest to how difficult it can be, especially during the preteen years. One thing that helped me was practicing mindfulness and being more present in the moment.

When we're mindful, we're able to notice our thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help us better understand our own needs and stay true to our values when setting boundaries with others. Encouraging your child to practice mindfulness through activities like meditation or deep breathing exercises can be a powerful tool for boundary setting.

Another helpful practice is assertive communication. This means expressing your needs and wants in a clear and direct way without being aggressive or passive. Helping your child practice assertive communication through role-playing or modeling the behavior can give them the tools they need to set healthy boundaries in their relationships.

Lastly, it's important to remember that mistakes are a part of the learning process. If your child struggles to set boundaries or slips up in a situation, use it as an opportunity for growth rather than punishment. By creating a safe and supportive environment for your child, you can help them build the skills they need to navigate their relationships with confidence.

I hope these tips are helpful, and I wish you and your child all the best!


Hi there,

As someone who works with preteens as a counselor, I've seen firsthand the importance of setting boundaries when it comes to healthy relationships. One thing I often recommend to parents is helping their child identify their "personal bill of rights".

This can include things like "I have the right to be treated with respect", "I have the right to say no", or "I have the right to be listened to". Going over these rights with your child can help them understand what they deserve in a relationship and can make setting boundaries feel more empowering.

Another tool that can be helpful is practicing empathy. Often times, preteens struggle with setting boundaries because they don't want to hurt their friends' feelings or create conflict. By helping your child practice empathy and understanding where their friends are coming from, they may be more likely to have open and honest conversations about their boundaries without damaging the relationship.

Lastly, it's important to celebrate the small victories. When your child does set a boundary or assert themselves in a situation, make sure to acknowledge and praise their efforts. This can help reinforce the behavior you want to see and can build your child's confidence.

I hope these tips are helpful, and good luck to you and your child!


Hi there,

As a fellow parent of a preteen, setting boundaries is definitely an ongoing challenge. One thing that has worked for us is role-playing different scenarios with our child. We'll act out a situation where their friend is pushing a boundary, and then we'll practice what our child can say or do to assert themselves and maintain their boundary. It's a good way to help your child build their confidence and feel more prepared for those types of situations.

Another strategy that has worked for us is reinforcing the importance of self-care. We emphasize that setting boundaries isn't just about saying "no" to others, but it's also about saying "yes" to yourself and your own needs. That's why it's important to take care of yourself first and make sure that you're not sacrificing your well-being just to appease others.

Lastly, we try to model the behavior we want to see by being assertive and setting our own boundaries in front of our child. This can help them see that setting boundaries is a normal and healthy part of any relationship, and that it's important to communicate your needs in a respectful and clear way.

I hope this helps, and good luck!

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