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Work phones ringing off the hook, overtime, working later than expected, always talking about the job, having plans canceled too frequently- sound familiar?
While some of these things do happen to most law enforcement families from time to time, they don’t need to happen all the time.
Instead, your family needs boundaries from the job.
It is INCREDIBLY important to not let law enforcement and the career run your life (you and your family). It easily can unless you have a plan in place as a family.
In today’s episode we are discussing ways to put these plans in place and the specific boundaries you can get started with today.
5 Boundaries Every Law Enforcement Family Needs From the Job
Don’t listen to scanners
I know not every police spouse or law enforcement family does this, but I feel it is important to bring up. And over the years, I have learned that by saying this, it seems to be rather controversial. Some spouses feel very strongly about listening to the scanner. Two main reasons I don’t recommend it are: if you are already having anxiety or fear or stress around the job then this will only contribute to those feelings. You need boundaries from law enforcement and hearing about the job and emergency situations constantly will not provide this for you.
And lastly, heaven forbid, something bad happened to your spouse and you heard it all unfold on the scanner. I think you would absolutely regret it then.
Put phones away as much as possible while at home or with family
I realize there are certain times our spouses need their work phones on or they have to make themselves available. But hopefully this is not 24/7.
My husband is on call one week every 5-6 weeks and during this week his work phone is out or in his pocket with the ringer on. Any other week, he has his work phone on his docking station and he doesn’t check in. If someone from work truly needs to get ahold of him, then they also know his personal number and can contact him there, but that is rare.
If your spouse has their work phone out a lot, I would discuss ways you can minimize that.
Now I am not talking about your spouse having to stay late after work, like when a shift gets hold over. This is pretty much a given in law enforcement.
Instead, I suggest trying to limit signing up for additional working days. Extra shifts like holidays shifts, details, working on days off, etc. Your spouse will have mandatory trainings and court days, but they don’t need to sign up for every “extra” shift that the department offers.
If your spouse is saying yes for financial reasons, then that’s a different scenario which I talk about more during the podcast.
Have hobbies outside of the job
This is huge not only for you as a spouse but also for the officer. Yes, it is important to do things together as a couple and family, but it is also important to have hobbies you enjoy doing for yourself and away from the law enforcement career.
When you make plans, stick to them
This is another boundary that comes with a caveat. Plans do and WILL change because of the job (like your spouse getting off work at different times or a court day mixed into the week). But when your spouse is off work and you make plans as a family or couple, you both need to be very intentional about keeping those plans and not letting work get in the way if you can help it. Again, this means not just randomly taking an extra shift when your family has plans and expecting them to be okay with it.
These are all things YOU AND YOUR PARTNER need to commit to.
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