When you were born, God placed you into a family for a season of time to help you grow into a mature adult. At some point this season ends, and your relationship with your parents changes from child-to-parent to adult-to-adult. The roles change from dependency and authority to mutuality. While you are to respect and care for your mother and father, you are no longer under their protection and tutelage. Children are to obey parents, while adult children are to love and honor them. Therefore, situations will occur where you need to make decisions and set boundaries with family with which they may not agree….
“Now, wait a minute,” Teresa said, shaking her head. “How can I set limits on those who need me? Isn’t that living for me and not for God?”
Teresa was voicing one of the main objections to boundary setting for Christians: a deep-seated fear of being self-centered, interested only in one’s own concerns and not those of others.
It is absolutely true that we are to be a loving people. Concerned for the welfare of others. In fact, the number-one hallmark of Christians is that we love others. So don’t boundaries turn us from other-centeredness to self-centeredness? The answer is …
Tabitha telephoned her mother, who answered the phone weakly with hardly any voice at all. Concerned, thinking she was sick, Tabitha asked, “Mother, what’s wrong?”
“I guess my voice doesn’t work very well anymore,” she replied. “No one calls me since you children left home.”
No weapon in the arsenal of a controlling person is as strong as the guilt message….
Adolescents get angry a lot. They live in protest mode, so it is second nature for them to get mad at everything in the world, especially their parents. But some parents are conflict-phobic — they are uncomfortable and afraid of being the object of their teen’s wrath, and so they avoid setting boundaries with teens.
However, this teaches adolescents that if they throw a tantrum, they can get out of a limit. Teens who learn this will also have difficulty …
Susie had a problem that I (Dr. Townsend) had seen countless times before. This thirty-year-old woman would return from a visit to her parents’ home and suffer a deep depression. When she described her problem to me, I asked her if she noticed that every time she went home to visit, she came back extremely depressed.
“Why that’s ridiculous,” she said. “I don’t live there anymore. How could the trip affect me this way?” …
The parents of a twenty-five-year-old man came to see me (Dr. Townsend) with a common request: they wanted me to “fix” their son, Bill.
When I asked where Bill was, they answered, “Oh, he didn’t want to come.”
“Why?” I asked.“
Well, he doesn’t think he has a problem,” they replied.
“Maybe he’s right,” I said …
It was a normal day, but one that would forever change my friend’s parenting. We had finished dinner, and I (Dr. Cloud) was visiting with my friend, Allison, and her husband, Bruce, when she left the dinner table to do some chores. Bruce and I continued to talk until a phone call took him away as well, so I went to see if I could lend Allison a hand.
I could hear her in their 14-year-old son Cameron’s room. I walked in to a scene that jolted me….
It’s every parent’s nightmare: having a teen on drugs. This is not life as God designed it. Substance abuse causes the breakdown of all that is good. Enslavement replaces freedom. Detachment replaces love. Chaos replaces order. Despair replaces hope.
Many young people abuse alcohol and drugs, and this problem is not likely to go away anytime soon. I (Dr. Townsend) can’t overstate the danger of substance abuse….
Boundaries with kids begins with parents having good boundaries of their own. Purposeful parents stay in control of themselves. If your child is controlling your decisions by protesting your boundaries, you are no longer parenting with purpose.
Terri was having problems with her thirteen-year-old son Josh not doing his homework. I helped her come up with a plan that would require Josh …
In one family I (Dr. Townsend) know, seven-year-old Taylor was going through a titanic power struggle with his mother. Sometimes, she wondered if setting boundaries with kids was actually possible. Taylor fought any “do” or “don’t” she said. Finally, his mom went to his bedroom to talk to him. As she opened the door, a cup perched on the top of the door tipped over, covering her from head to toe with milk.
Any parent would have blown up at her child. Instead, Taylor’s mom said, her face dripping with milk, “Son, this is really serious. I’m going to have to take some time to figure out what will be happening to you. I’ll let you know.” . . .