Allison Bottke, author of Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children, stops by Potpourri of Writing during her April Blog Tour. She's spreading the word about a topic she feels desperately needs to be addressed and leaves a message already striking a chord in hearts around the nation about adult children whose lives are out of control and who often come home to live.
MARY EMMA: Welcome, Allison, to Potpourri of Writing. Thank you for coming to share with us. Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children 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.
MARY EMMA: 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.
MARY EMMA: 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.
MARY EMMA: 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.
MARY EMMA: What are some things that parents can do to break the cycle of enabling?
ALLISON: Follow the six steps to S.A.N.I.T.Y.: Stop blaming yourself and stop the flow of money. Stop continually rescuing your adult children from one mess after another. Assemble a support group of other parents in the same situation. Nip excuses in the bud. Implement rules and boundaries. Trust your instincts. Yield everything to God, because you’re not in control. These six things can start a parent on the road to S.A.N.I.T.Y. in an insane situation that is spinning out of control. However, a key issue in breaking the cycle of enabling is to understand whose problem it really is.
MARY EMMA: What does this book accomplish that other books on the topic do not?
ALLISON: Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children will empower readers with a no holds barred six step S.A.N.I.T.Y. format, stating in black and white the parental behaviors that must STOP, along with identifying new habits to implement if change is to occur. Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children will identify the false conceptions parents believe about themselves and their adult children and will counter each lie of captivity with the truth that setting boundaries is not only a good thing—but a vital part of hope and healing. True stories from other enabling parents and grandparents are woven throughout the chapters. Discussions with and observations from licensed psychologists and psychiatrists are also included.
MARY EMMA: Tell us about the S.A.N.I.T.Y. Support Group Network you founded. How can people get involved?
ALLISON: The “A” step in S.A.N.I.T.Y. is to ASSEMBLE a support group. This is a vital component in being able to look at our situations more objectively. We have developed a powerful Companion Study Guide that can be read individually or in a group setting. This Companion Study Guide contains all the information you need to conduct a S.A.N.I.T.Y. Support group in your neighborhood or community. Visit our web site here to find out more: http://www.sanitysupport.com/blogtourguests.htm.
MARY EMMA: Thank you, Allison, for visiting Potpourri of Writing during your blog tour. Is there anything you'd like to add?
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!