April 1, 2024
thrive emotionally


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As we journey through life, our relationships with family members, particularly between seniors and their adult children, hold immense significance.

These relationships are often filled with love, care, and support, but they can also bring about emotional challenges that require delicate navigation, like impatience, anger, and guilt.

One crucial aspect of maintaining healthy relationships is establishing and respecting emotional boundaries.

Let’s explore what emotional boundaries entail, how families can protect themselves from getting their feelings hurt, and what to do if sensitivity becomes overwhelming.

Understanding Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries means the limits we set within ourselves and with others regarding our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. These boundaries dictate how much emotional energy we invest in relationships and how we respond to others' emotions.

For seniors and their adult children, establishing emotional boundaries is vital for maintaining a healthy balance between support and personal space. We never want to start “disliking” those we love. I’ll explain what happens when we do this below. 

These boundaries help us understand our own feelings and needs while respecting the feelings and needs of others. Emotional boundaries involve knowing when to say "yes" and when to say "no" to certain emotional experiences, interactions, or demands from others. (I cover a lot of this in the Senior Freedom Club). They are crucial for maintaining healthy relationships, as they provide a framework for how we engage with and respond to others' emotions while also protecting our own emotional well-being. Setting and respecting emotional boundaries involves clear communication, self-awareness, and the ability to assertively express our needs and preferences in relationships.

Protecting Against Hurt Feelings

In families, misunderstandings and hurt feelings will arise when emotional boundaries are unclear or disregarded. To protect themselves from getting their feelings hurt, family members can take several proactive steps:

  • Open Communication: Encourage open and honest communication within the family. Expressing thoughts and feelings openly can prevent misunderstandings and help clarify expectations regarding emotional boundaries.

  • Respect Each Other's Space: Recognize and respect each other's need for personal space and emotional autonomy. Avoid imposing one's emotions or opinions onto others and allow space for individual perspectives.

  • Set Clear Expectations: Establish clear expectations regarding emotional support and boundaries. Discuss and negotiate boundaries openly, ensuring that everyone's needs and preferences are respected.

  • Practice Empathy: Acknowledge and validate each other's feelings, even if they differ from one's own. Here is where you are going to do some self-reflection. See how self-relfection works under “Dealing with Sensitivity”. 

  • Boundaries with Technology: In today's digital age, it's essential to set boundaries around technology use within the family. Limiting screen time and maintaining face-to-face communication can foster deeper emotional connections and reduce the risk of miscommunication or hurt feelings.

Dealing with Sensitivity

Seniors and adult children find themselves struggling with sensitivity, making it challenging to navigate emotional boundaries effectively. Here are some strategies to cope with sensitivity:

  • Self-Reflection: Take time for self-reflection to understand the underlying reasons for sensitivity. The root of insensitivity comes from not liking or appreciating the person. 

  • In the Senior Freedom Club, we promote practicing self-reflection in order to gain empathy  

  • For example, let’s say a family member is “grating on our nerves”.  We are sick and tired of hearing about all the ailments this person tell us about. Or maybe they repeat themselves all the time. How do we get out from under ourselves?

    Get out old pictures of you and this person. Remind yourself how this person was there for you. Remember the love laughter, and smiles you once had for this person. All of this is still there. Just dig a little deeper and you will find the patience and empathy to re-self-reflect yourself. 
  • Seek Support: Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist for support and guidance. Talking to someone who understands can provide perspective and help develop coping mechanisms.

  • Practice Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote emotional well-being, such as mindfulness, relaxation techniques, hobbies, or spending time in nature. 

  • Set Personal Boundaries: Establish clear personal boundaries to protect oneself from emotional overwhelm. Communicate these boundaries assertively but respectfully to others.

  • Learn to Say No: Recognize the importance of saying no when necessary to preserve emotional energy and avoid overextending oneself. Setting limits on commitments and responsibilities can help manage sensitivity.

Navigating emotional boundaries within families, especially between aging parents and their adult children, requires patience, understanding, and open communication.

The emotional roller-coaster you engage in is not going away.

But you can smooth out the edges with practice.

Add more fun times and memories into your days. Get out and feel better about yourself. Remember who each of you are to each other, and be blessed that you have had them in your lives before and still do.  

The Senior Freedom Club™

(Join the waitlist)

The most comprehensive membership, for validating, planning, and implementing your healthy, organized, and balanced life. The Senior Freedom Club™ not only shows seniors exactly how to age like a Super Ager, but how to help family caregivers enjoy a healthy and balanced stress-free life while caring for their seniors. 

  •  Nail down your health journey
  • Engage your confidence to make this look easy
  • Develop schedules that work for you
  • Expertly steer senior legal, financial, and health issues like a pro
  • Leverage your time with these family strategies
  • Drum up energy and focus when you want it
  • Build peace within your own families
  • About the Author

    Hi, I'm Suzanne. My passion is creating working knowledge to well-informed, well-prepared seniors and their families so they may enjoy the later years with health, wealth, and happiness, I've helped over 10,000 patients, seniors and their famlies like yourselves do just that through my courses, eBooks, the Senior Freedom Club™, and in my physician assistant medical practice.


    This blog provides general information and discussions about health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that has been read on this blog or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately. The opinions and views expressed on this blog and website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution. Nor does this material constitute a provider-patient relationship between the reader and the author.