'Respect jar' & healthy spousal boundaries

Hi Mary Jo,

I’m a teacher. What is the best way to impress upon parents teaching their kids respect?

Thank you, Jamie

Dear Jamie,

This is a lifelong lesson, and I’m glad it’s getting your attention as you begin a new school year. Sending home a letter telling parents that respect will be a major focus this year will be a great start. When you get the parents involved, big changes happen at home and school. Including these suggestions in your note will help.
1. Watch a half hour TV program with your child and discuss the ways respect and disrespect were shown. 
2. Have your child keep a respect journal. Each week, they’re to write down three ways they showed respect at home, at school, and at work. Have them bring it to school on Friday and share with the class.
3. Ask parents to put a respect jar in their home. The idea of this is to unite the family against disrespect. When a family member feels respected by another family member they put chip (any token works) in the jar. When the family saves 15 chips, they celebrate with a pizza night. Everyone is working for the same goal.

Hi Mary Jo,

How do you maintain healthy boundaries when you work with your spouse, open their mail, and are with them 24/7?

Thank you, Karen


That’s a really good question, and it’s tougher for couples to maintain vitality in marriage if they do everything together. But there’s also confusion of what a boundary is. It’s not a way of controlling what another person does, but rather taking responsibility for your behaviors. If you both are opening each other’s mail, it’s not a problem unless it’s a problem for one of you.

A healthy relationship needs each person to maintain their own interests to keep the relationship inspired. What do you want to learn more about, what is your purpose, or what adds meaning to your life? Find and nourish the areas you’re curious about and do them on your own. Share with your husband what you’re learning.  Couples who continue to grow in their personal areas of interests deepen the emotional connection with their partner. They have the best of both worlds; they’re married to their closest friend and have freedom to grow.

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