Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children

Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents

Non-Fiction - Parenting
224 Pages
Reviewed on 03/14/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

When my daughter asked me to review Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children, I laughed and said “Okay”. God was using her in ways she never expected. Therefore, I thank her and Allison Bottke for Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children.

“You feel betrayed because as a parent, you’ve tried to practice unconditional love. You’ve offered forgiveness for inappropriate behavior and provided enough encouragement and tangible help to give your child a fresh start.” When I read these words, I knew this book was meant for me. I have numerous times asked myself if I were a bad parent, whether I was a strong enough Christian, and did I not meet his needs. Allison Bottke courageously shares her story with readers, offering them hope, insight, and suggestions. She helps parents take their lives back. One of the most poignant statements in the book is “it is you that has to change, not them.”

There are six steps offered to parents. Bottke uses the word SANITY to help parents remember the steps. Stop enabling our child’s behavior. Assemble and join a support group. No excuses. Implement rules and boundaries. Trust yourself. Yield; give it all over to God. It is refreshing to read a book that is written from experience with honesty and Godliness. Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Childrenstepped on my toes. It will probably step on the toes of others as well. Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children is a serious, well written manual. Bottke’s book will bless many.

Pat Hollingworth

I was listening to Neil Boran one day and he spoke about giving..I wanted to know as a Christian - when do you "stop" giving - and he highly recommended this book "Bottoke"..sorry just can't think of the name right now and I lent it to my sister. We have had a family crisis for almost 4 years now where we have been supporting our brother (50 years) and it is going nowhere. He continues to be destructive, critical about the world, and does not take responsibility for "his" responsibilities. He continues to make things worse for him and his sisters (6) have been picking up the pieces...this book brought great insight into the situation, it made me realize that I need to trust God for his well being, I am part of the problem..and now sharing with my other sisters who continue to "feel" sorry for our brother. It does not help him and I have now taken a firm stance with the understanding that God does not "expect" me to take on my brother's responsibilities..yes we help, we love, we try guidance and support but enough is enough because when he does not listen - it becomes our fault..and it is true. We enable them to depend on our support and they can do as they please as there are no consequences for their actions. God needs to be his support not me or my sisters..( my brother is a Christian and has been longer then I have). His actions and behaviours were confusing me in my own walk with the Lord and it was scaring this book has brought me guidance, support, comfort and action on how to deal with this. Most of all it helped me deal with my guilt and build my "trust". True love of someone - sometimes will hurt terribly, but ultimately I am trusting the Lord that what ever my brother's ends/situation will be - it is between "him" and God..and I hold on that God always works things to the better..
I highly recommend this book for young parents who are having difficulties with their teenagers,young adult children..even young should be read prior to their children getting older..because as parents "love" and doing is not enough..we have lost the ability to "teach" and sometimes teaching/learning is difficult, painful...nothing worthwhile is without pain and hard work...the Lord has taught us that and that you will find in this book in a manner that is practical and usable in today's world...great stuff...

Carol Wall

One day I was sitting in my recliner, not having a pity party, but just evaluating my life. I have a son who is a successful doctor. Another owns his own plumbing company. Another is sought after in the field of computer programming.

I also have two grown children that I sometimes refer to as my "gifts- that just keep on giving". These 'kids' are 32 (my youngest son) and 36 years old (my husband's bipolar daughter who is also on street drugs). If ever the Lord has spoken to me (and I know He has) was this day. Thoughts were flowing. "I don't know what NORMAL is. I tried to envision what it would be like to have a family gathering where my functioning kids could interact with the two 'outsiders'. What would it be like to not cringe when the phone rings with the next drama, to plan a vacation for me and my husband where we could just go and have a GREAT TIME without worrying about which one of them were having a crisis! I went on to the realization that "I am all USED UP. There is no more. There is NO joy in my life. No smiles. No laughter. No fun. No hope". Just me, waiting for the next round. My functioning children don't even KNOW me anymore because I have been so consumed with the two that require my time, energy, money and support.

Keep in mind, this was NOT a depressing awakening. It was LIBERATING! But I realized I needed a support system because it wasnt going to be easy to keep from falling back into my routine of "fixing" everything for every one else. I started looking for reading material and am so thankful that I ran across this book. I empathized with the author about her son - she and I shared the same feelings and some of the same experiences. The entire book just clarified to me what I needed to do to REALLY help these children. It reinforced the fact that this is not a selfish thing I am doing- it is the MOST GIVING,MOST LOVING, MOST UN-SELFISH thing I can do for my grown children - to quit trying to protect my grown kids from themselves and their consistent poor choices. I had been giving them just enough leash to see them get close to the fire and then I'd step in and try to salvage their lives. That day, I unhooked the leash and my grown kids are free to go. They know I love them but I am not available for any more drama caused by their irrational behavior and their poor choices. I am starting to live a life where I actually laugh a lot, I smile a lot, I am a fun, kind, thoughtful, interesting person and I have a LOT to give.

This book gives you the reinforcement you need wherever you presently are on your road to 'recovery'. I can honestly say that I have never read a book on this subject that so captivates me - every single page has reinforcement or encouragement or useful suggestions or motivation on how to make life begin again for YOU and also for the grown child who is getting ready to find out that it is time for him/her to grow up and take responsibility for their own decisions. I'm smiling as I write this because I know I'll never go back to those days and I have great hope for my son and step-daughter. They are in the shock stage right now - we're watching for signs that they will catch the next wind and soar like eagles. If they don't soar the first time, we'll be happy with just a flapping of wings. But they're going back to their OWN nest this time.


Nancy C. Anderson

My 22 year old son is still living at home and is basically a good guy, but this book opened my eyes to some things I was doing that are very DESTRUCTIVE. Allison's story helped me see that I have to get tough NOW in order to prevent our small problems from becoming son-eating monsters.

I have begun to implement her SANITY formula and it's magic! There was resistance at first, but once he knew we were NOT KIDDING, he rose to the challenges.

Allison is my hero because she's willing to share the painful story of her son's fall into drugs and prison so that her readers can learn from her mistakes.

I thank God for Allison and this book. "Setting Boundaries with your Adult Children" is a life-changer!

Michelle Sutton

There are many, many helpful non-fiction books in this world to choose from, but this is one that every parent MUST read. It's incredibly well-written and interesting, and the examples are excellent. Since I've worked with dysfunctional people and families for twenty years as a social worker, I can testify that Allison knows what she is talking about. She's obviously poured her heart and soul into this book in order to help families, and I've not found better advice out there for people who have adult children than is mentioned here. In fact, I brought it to church with me to a Bible study as I was reading it. People were checking it out because everyone knows someone who has an adult child who has torn their parents' hearts out by the way they live their lives. The awesome thing about this book is that the advice will actually work, painful as it will be. It's scripturally sound advice. Allison makes an impressive case as you'll see when you read the book.

There is even a benefit to reading this book while your kids are still young, or teenagers. They don't have to be fully grown children for you to benefit as a reader. Why? Because you can stop destructive patterns BEFORE you let them destroy your children. I've pondered some things about my own parenting style as a result of this book and it's sparked some great discussions with my husband. We are doing a lot of things right, but there are always ways to improve. Like making sure your own childhood deficits don't interfere with what God is trying to work in your child's life. My boys are 15 and 16 and Setting Boundaries for Your Adult Children has actually helped me with some decisions I need to make as they grow older. I feel so much more equipped. Bless Allison for opening her heart and making herself vulnerable for the sake of the ministry God has given her. This book is a winne

Vonda Skelton

From the first gut-wrenching chapter to the last page of resources, this book is powerful. I am confident it will change lives and families forever. Instead of vague concepts, the Sanity Support six-step program gives parents concrete steps for setting boundaries with their adult children. Allison, thank you for the practical advice, not only from your own experience, but from the pages of God's Word.

Kathey O.

I don't have adult children, but I picked up this book out of my general interest in setting healthy boundaries in relationships. The author presented many good insights, some of which I've come across before (but which always bear repetition!) and many of which are new and fresh. The author's tone is kind but realistic. She shares many interesting and engaging examples both from her own life and the lives of others she knows or has interviewed. The book was helpful to me as a daughter, sister, and mom of a young child. It will be even more helpful to anyone who struggles with knowing where to set boundaries with teen and adult children. I highly recommend it.

Karen Power

Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children is an excellent resource for anyone who is struggling with their dysfunctional adult children. So far, I haven't met anyone who doesn't have, or doesn't know, someone who needs the valuable step by step tools to help them down the road to S.A.N.I.T.Y.

Even if your children are still young, buy the book and read it. This might just save you stress and pain in the future.

If you know someone who needs to get off the crazy carousel of their adult children's decisions and lives and help them take responsibility as the parents for their choices -- tell a friend about the book and help change a life!

Phyllis Goldberg

In her writing, Allison Bottkke doesn't hold back about the pain of the personal struggles with her adult son. She shares her story and process - taking the reader from enabling patterns of behavior, through letting go of old attitudes, toward a system of tough love. Her 6-step program provides a useful structure and very practical ideas.

Allison demonstrates repeatedly how easy it is to remain in a state of denial and accept an adult child's manipulations. But by creating new goals, an action plan and the determination to follow through, real change is possible. Allison clearly shows, throughout this valuable book, how strong faith and learning to set firm limits can profoundly change your life.

M. Ferry

I couldn't wait to get this book and I wasn't disappointed. It has helped guide me with decisions I have had to make that I didn't think I could make and follow through with. The reinforcement that the author have given me has helped to make my life easier, knowing I am making the correct decision based on studying the book. If you are living with an enabling situation or are not sure if you are an enabler, you should read this book. I hightly recommend you order Setting Boundraries with Your Adult Children by Allison Bottke as soon as possible to receive the help, peace, and reinforcement you need.

Eileen M. Buccola

If you can take the truth, this is the book for you. The book can only be helpful if you are ready to hear the author's words and incorporate them into your own personal situation. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has been living with an adult child who refuses to "get it" Excellent.