How to Set Boundaries With Visitors as a Parent

How to Set Boundaries With Visitors as a Parent

Post Date: Apr 17, 2024
Parent Support

As a new parent or any parent experiencing a need to set boundaries with the people in their life, visitors can be wonderful, but they also bring a set of challenges. When you’re struggling with too many visitors or people who aren’t respecting your wishes with your child, it’s time to set boundaries. Boundaries are important, but they can also be difficult to establish. Take these simple tips to help you set the boundaries you need as a parent.

Set and communicate visiting hours in advance

Establish a time range that works for you and your family before you expect visitors. Whether you have a new baby on the way, a holiday coming up, or you’ve heard from family members that they would like to visit in the coming season, it’s best to plan early. When you’ve determined what time would work best—whether that’s 10 am to 5 pm or even a shorter window—then let your visitors know before they arrive.

You can send out a message saying something like, “We’re so excited to see you soon and have you meet our child! To help make sure we have the time to bond as a family and recover in this changing season of life, we’re welcoming visitors between 10 am and noon only on weekends. Please plan your visit during this time so we can be available to see you when you arrive.” Communication upfront can help set expectations.

Have a response ready for unwanted visitors

Not every person will be welcome in every situation. Having a set response in advance can help you maintain relationships while still sticking to your boundaries. That way you aren’t responding with strong emotions in the moment. You might say something like, “We love you so much and can’t wait to see you soon. Right now, we’re focused on recovery and bonding as a family. We’ll reach out when we’re ready to have visitors.” It isn’t always easy to be upfront on issues like this, but the clearer you are, the fewer problems you will have with your boundaries being breached.

Lay out your expectations before they arrive

If you’ve just brought home a new baby, visitors may expect to aid with chores. Write a list of ways they can help, from vacuuming to putting away groceries or folding laundry. You can post that on the refrigerator or let people know in a text before they come for a visit. A lot of times when someone is visiting a family with a new child, they might have expectations for how the visit will go. If you need help with a pile of dirty dishes but your freezer is overflowing with frozen meals, let them know ahead of time so they don’t come with more casseroles you don’t have room for.

Have someone else to help you enforce boundaries

If you’re tired and overwhelmed, caring for a new child and trying to manage the demands of visitors too, it can take a big toll. Enlisting a trusted person to help you maintain your boundaries can help take the weight off your shoulders. Maybe your partner is the person to make sure that your in-laws leave when you agreed they would. It could also be a doula or close friend. But by not needing to be the enforcer, you can help maintain calm while still sticking to your boundaries.

There’s a lot to adapt to as a parent. If you need help finding your way, free resources from CHP’s Learning Partners are there for you. Call to find out more.