We all want our children to grow into happy, responsible adults. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts and our prayers, some children never quite become independent. We become involved in the repeating cycle of helping and rescuing until we are at the end of our emotions, our finances and our sanity.
“Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children” – “Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents” by Allison Bottke begins with the heart-wrenching story of her own entanglement in the life of her adult son. Right away you realize that this woman knows what it is like and is not going to give you any pat answers to fixing your child’s problems.
“This isn’t a book about drug-proofing your kids or a how-to manual about making rebellious kids behave.”
It is for any parent whose adult child’s life is in one crisis after another and who finds themselves entangled in each as if it were their own.
Her book gives enlightening descriptions of our own enabling behavior whether our adult child is in serious trouble, such as drug addiction or is simply failing to leave the nest.
To find out if you are indeed an enabling parent, answer the 20 questions on pages 30 and 31.
Here is a sample:
Have you paid for education and /or job training in more than one field?
Have you paid bills he was supposed to have paid himself?
Have you given him “one more chance” and then another and another?
Have you begun to feel that your marriage is in jeopardy because of this situation?
Ms. Bottke gives parents a way out that is well thought out, pre-determined, kind and bathed in prayer. This book doesn’t give easy answers to ending the cycle. It is tough and can be heart-breaking but you won’t feel alone. Her writing style is such that she feels like a friend who can help because she has been there.
Part 2 of the book explains Allison’s “Six Steps to Sanity”
S = Stop your own negative behavior ( especially the flow of money)
A = Assemble a support group
N = Nip excuses in the bud
I = Implement rules and boundaries
T = Trust your instincts
Y = Yield everything to God (“let go and let God”)
Each step is discussed thoroughly, giving the tools to make it work along with the encouragement to keep going.
If you have the nagging feeling that instead of helping your adult child, you may be enabling, I think this is an important book for you.
Allison Bottke is the general editor of the God Allows U-Turns series and God Answers Prayer series. She is in frequent demand as a speaker. You may have seen or heard her on the 700 Club, Decision Today or other radio and television programs. You can find her at Allison Bottke.com or Sanity Support.com.
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