A special opening message from Allison Bottke: The interview that follows has been personalized for every blog I’ll be visiting during the month of April. I want to thank Christa for taking the time to read my newest non-fiction book and for sharing it here today on the Setting Boundaries April Blog Tour. You are helping to spread the word about a topic that desperately needs to be addressed—with a message already striking a chord in hearts around the nation.
Our country is in a crisis of epidemic proportion concerning adult children whose lives are spinning out of control—leaving parents and grandparents broken-hearted and confused. This painful issue is destroying individuals, families, marriages, churches, and communities. I believe in my heart that you are reading this message today for a very specific reason. Do you know someone who has an adult child who is always in crisis? An adult child who brings chaos to virtually every situation? Could this painful issue be touching your life today?
If so, there’s a truth I’ve come to embrace that has changed my life—it can change yours, too. It’s taken me more years than I care to admit, but I no longer believe in “coincidences.” The truth I’ve come to embrace is that God is the Master of orchestrating “God-cidences.” He has a plan for who he wants us to meet, what lessons he wants us to learn, even what books he wants us to read. He even has a plan for the trials and tribulations of life.
When we begin to look at everything that happens to us throughout the day as “God-cidences” (and not accidental coincidences) it changes the way we view our world.
That said, my prayer is that you will see the following message and the book; Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing as a “God-cidence” placed into your life today for a powerful purpose. Perhaps it’s to help heal your family or the family of a loved one. Perhaps you are here to help us introduce this resource to a broader audience via additional media contacts you may have. Whatever the “God-cidence” may be, please know our primary goal is to bring hope and healing to families around the nation—thank you for helping us do that.
I pray you will view what you are about to read as a “God-cidence” meant just for you.
God Bless and Keep You,
The book comes out of your own personal experience with your son. Please tell us about that.
ALLISON: For years I really thought I was helping my son. I wanted him to have the things I never had growing up. I love my son, and I didn’t want him to hurt—but sometimes pain is a natural result of the choices we make. For a long time I didn’t understand the part I was playing in the ongoing drama that had become my son’s life—I didn’t understand that I didn’t have to live in constant chaos and crisis because of his choices. When I chose to stop the insanity and start living a life of hope and healing my life changed. It’s a feeling I want other struggling parents and grandparents to experience. I want other parents to know that change is possible when we choose to stop the destructive cycle of enabling. And we can stop it. I know, because I’ve done it.
Why do you think so many parents struggle with enabling their adult children?
ALLISON: We don’t understand the difference between helping and enabling, that one heals and the other hurts. We don’t realize that we handicap our adult children when we don’t allow them to experience the consequences of their actions.
How can we determine whether we are helping versus enabling our children?
ALLISON: Helping is doing something for someone that he is not capable of doing himself. Enabling is doing for someone things that he could and should be doing himself.
An enabler is a person who recognizes that a negative circumstance is occurring on a regular basis and yet continues to enable the person with the problem to persist with his detrimental behaviors. Simply, enabling creates an atmosphere in which our adult children can comfortably continue their unacceptable behavior.
What are some of the most common ways that parents enable their children?
ALLISON: Being the Bank of Mom and Dad, or the Bank of Grandma and Grandpa. Loaning money that is never repaid, buying things they can’t afford and don’t really need. Continually coming to their rescue so they don’t feel the pain—the consequences—of their actions and choices. Accepting excuses that we know are excuses—and in some instances are downright lies. Blaming ourselves for their problems. We have given too much and expected too little.
What is the ultimate goal of Setting Boundaries?
ALLISON: While recognizing and identifying enabling issues must come before positive change can be made, it is the eventual peace and healing parents will feel as they gain power in their own lives that is the goal of this book. It’s a tough love book for coping with dysfunctional adult children, as well as getting our own lives back on track, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children empowers families by offering hope and healing through six S.A.N.I.T.Y. steps. I walk parents through a six step program to regaining control in their home, and in their life.
From the opening pages, you are very candid in your own struggles to set boundaries with your adult son, in a section titled “Why I Had to Write This Book.” Why did you feel the need to be so open so quickly?
ALLISON: There are many good books available on boundaries. Most of them are written from the perspective of a psychologist, therapist, counselor, or theologian. Never in my years of searching for help did I find a book on boundaries written by a parent in pain who had walked in my shoes. I wanted readers to quickly understand that this book was different.
You say that enabling our children is “a nationwide epidemic with catastrophic consequences.” What has led you to believe this?
ALLISON: There is clearly an epidemic of major proportion plaguing our nation today. This has become obvious to me as I travel the country sharing my God Allows U-Turns testimony and outreach. Seldom does a week go by when I am not approached by someone in deep pain concerning their adult child. It’s not just audience members in conflict with this troubling issue, but fellow authors, speakers and entertainers, some quite well known, who are living in the throes of familial discord concerning out-of-control adult children. It’s happening all over the country to people from all walks of life.
ALLISON: I encourage your readers to tell me what they think about Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children. I really do want to hear reader feedback. They can reach me at: SettingBoundaries@SanitySupport.com. Please be sure to visit our web site at http://www.sanitysupport.com/blogtourguests.htm where they will find additional resources for helping them on their road to S.A.N.I.T.Y. Remember to tell a friend in need and help save a life!
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Quotables from Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children
Many of our adult children have retreated from the trials and tribulations that not only test their faith but would also stretch them in ways that would develop their character, prove their mettle, and give them a sense of achievement. Consequently, many adult children have no idea what they’re truly capable of accomplishing. They’ve never really tried to move ahead with confidence and be all they can be. (pg. 35)
On Letting Go…
Setting our adult children free to live the lives God intended them to live is not abandonment—even if it means setting them free during a time of severe trial and tribulation in their lives. (pg. 57)
Our money must cease being the life preservers that buoy up our adult children, keeping them afloat through yet another storm. We might be amazed at just how well our adult children can swim when giving the opportunity to do so. More important, they just might be surprised at their own ability to survive without life support, a powerful lesson that no amount of money can purchase. (pg. 107)
On Healing and Restoration…
We do not parent as those who have no hope. We have a God who watches over our children—if we’ll just get out of His way and let Him do the restoring. Restoration is such a promising word to parents in pain. But to get to restoration, we must start with the truth of where we are. We must be honest. The truth is that those once-innocent children grew into the jaded and unmotivated adults they are today under our parental watch. And now we find that one huge step in the restoration process is to honestly see our adult children for who they really are now, not as we remember them in their Kodak moments. (pg. 72)
Healing often comes through pain first. Physical therapy is painful, but it’s always conducted for our own good. So too are God’s plans always meant for our good—even when we can’t understand them. (pg. 172)