Author Offers Hope for Hurting Parents of Adult Children
- Kathi Macias Crosswalk.com Contributor
- 2008 11 Apr
April 11, 2008
It has been said that deciding to have a child is like deciding to let your heart walk around outside your body for the rest of your life. No one knows that better than author and mom Allison Bottke, whose most recent book, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing (Harvest House, February 2008), is causing a stir—and a fresh light of hope—among hurting parents everywhere.
“In an era when personal responsibility has become more and more scarce,” Bottke says, “it’s often the parents who have spent years enabling their children who are now suffering.”
CBS News refers to these often immature and irresponsible adult children as “boomerang kids,” always leaving and returning to the nest, unable or unwilling to do what’s necessary to make it on their own. And why should they, when experience has taught them that Mom and Dad will eventually come to the rescue and do it for them?
Having experienced firsthand the revolving door of an adult child who moved in and out of her home nearly as often as he moved in and out of jail and/or drug rehabs (almost always entailing financial expense on Bottke’s part), this author has written a heartrendingly honest tough-love book that not only exposes the truth of her own struggles with her beloved yet rebellious adult child, but also includes glimpses into the lives of others with similar experiences.
So how does it happen? How do loving, well-meaning parents fall into this trap of enabling—and even crippling—their own children?
“For years I really thought I was helping my son,” Bottke explains. “I wanted him to have the things I never had growing up. I love my son, and I didn’t want him to hurt.” As a result, she often ran interference for him so he wouldn’t have to experience the unpleasant consequences of his actions. Sadly, she neglected to teach him a truth she now knows only too well—that “sometimes pain is a natural result of the choices we make”; by shielding her son from that pain, she enabled him to continue making poor choices. Their lives soon became entwined in a never-ending “rollercoaster of chaos” that neither knew how to stop.
“For a long time I didn’t understand the part I was playing in the ongoing drama that had become my son’s life,” Bottke says. “I didn’t understand that I didn’t have to live in constant chaos and crisis because of his choices.” When she finally got to the point where she could no longer stand the situation, she realized the only way off the rollercoaster was to refuse to fuel it anymore. It was then that she began to see a glimmer of hope at the end of her long, dark tunnel.
“When I chose to stop the insanity and start living a life of hope and healing, my life changed,” Bottke says. And that’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.”
That’s the key to this excellent book. More than a “how-to” manual based on theory, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing is a practical yet personal guide to regaining and maintaining sanity after being caught up in an ongoing cycle of crisis and enabling. Not only does this book deliver what it promises—six practical steps to help struggling parents recover and reclaim their lives and their sanity—but it does so in a remarkable manner.
Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children is designed for individual study, as well as group settings, through the simple but effective use of a six-step S.A.N.I.T.Y. program:
- S = STOP Enabling, STOP Blaming Yourself, and STOP the Flow of Money
- A = Assemble a Support Group
- N = Nip Excuses in the Bud
- I = Implement Rules/Boundaries
- T = Trust Your Instincts
- Y = Yield Everything to the Higher Power of God (Surrender)
Bottke is no flash-in-the-pan author or an expert on a particular topic who has managed to write an acceptable manuscript; she is an extraordinary writer with exceptional talent who is willing to bare her heart to her readers. This is a rare gift and one she freely gives throughout this gripping book. From Bottke’s soul-rending opening account of her New Year’s Day post-SWAT team encounter to her final words of encouragement to parents in like situations, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children keeps readers hungrily devouring its contents, even as hope builds in their hearts.
“We do not parent as those who have no hope,” Bottke says. “We have a God who watches over our children—if we’ll just get out of His way and let Him do the restoring.”
Allison Bottke is the founder of the acclaimed God Allows U-Turns outreach ministry and is the author or editor of twenty-four published non-fiction and fiction books. Visit her web site at: http://www.allisonbottke.com/. Setting Boundaries with your Adult Children can be bought at your local bookstore or online at http://www.sanitysupport.com/. For information about locating or starting a S.A.N.I.T.Y. Support Group, visit http://www.sanitysupport.com/.
Kathi Macias, popular speaker and prolific author, is an Angel-award winning writer who has published twenty-one books and hundreds of articles. Whether keyboarding her latest book, keynoting a conference, or riding on the back of her husband's Harley, Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias is a lady on a mission to communicate God’s vision. Her insightful words—filled with passion, humor, and soul nourishment—refresh audiences from all walks of life, and her Spanish devotionals, “Desde el Corazon del Padre,” (with English translations) can be found on Crosswalk.com each Monday. Her newest book, BEYOND ME: LIVING A YOU-FIRST LIFE IN A ME-FIRST WORLD, is scheduled for a July 1 release from New Hope Publishers and can be pre-ordered on Amazon. To book Kathi for your next event, email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit http://www.kathimacias.com/.