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on July 30, 2008
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)..it 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.

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on August 14, 2011
I do think there is a lot of good information here and I am sorry but being honest to say that it so relieved me in comparison to my situation that I was counting my blessings . But keep in mind, if your child is not a drug addict wanted for murder you may not need to get as tough with your boundaries as the author did. I recently was given some very insightful professional input that basically recognized that my son had suffered through much heartbreak mental and physical and that even though he had moved back in ,acting entitled,angry and like a classic prodigal (wasteful living), abruptly setting harsh boundaries could push us both into something that could take years to mend! I read a blog where the topic was how to re-establish a relationship with estranged children. There is a middle ground between being an enabling door mat and causing a rift that can not be mended. The great advice I was given that worked in my case was to slowly start setting limits. I knew I could do this. So I read this book and some others and made my gentle action plan to begin by not paying my son for yard work anymore. I told him he didn't have enough cash to contribute to the household so his contribution would now be mowing etc. our half acre. He's on a family share plan for the cell phone and I told him any week it wasn't done the cell would be turned off. I also told him any drama over lacking gas money or those kind of things would not get him any money anymore. I set the limit with calm intent when nothing was going on... Ready for the drama when it comes. For those of you with a son on the most wanted list you may get more from the book than I did.
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on May 17, 2008
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 me..so 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 children..it 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...
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on April 2, 2008
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!
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on May 12, 2012
The author states in the intro to Part I: "I also need to make it clear that my perspective as a parent in pain is that of a Christian parent in pain." She continues: "I invite readers of all faiths to learn how to set the necessary boundaries you'll need to survive as a parent of an adult child in crisis, but it's my belief that a critical part of any enduring solution will be found in a firm trust in God along the way. Long ago I discovered that God knows our pain. One can scarcely read the gospel..." etc.

To say this book is Christianity-based is a gross understatement. But to say she invites "readers of all faiths" is a gross misstatement. There is scarcely a page in the entire 218 page book that does not mention (Christian) God or prayer, or contain Christian Bible (NKJV) verses and other scripture quotes. The cliche "Let go and let God" is overused throughout.

I agree with several other reviewers (whose reviews have been mostly buried amongst others here) that the book is heavily religious, specifically, Christianity-based. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. To many Christians, especially those who have wandered from or forgotten their faith, it can provide inspiration and reminders to return to that faith. But if you are of another religion, or atheist or agnostic, I guarantee this book will annoy you.

The main problem I had with the book was that it fell short on practical advice, providing a little helpful information (basically: make rules, enforce them, stop giving money), then falling back on the nebulous "surrender to God" and "pray about it" advice rather than following through with concrete information to complete the solution/s. For example, she suggests writing a contract and having the adult child sign it as an absolutely essential step. But she provides no advice or solutions - not even recognizing the possibility - for the adult child who refuses to sign. Then she briefly mentions that in certain circumstances it is necessary to go through an eviction process ... but providing zero information about where to start with that.

Other reviewers have also noted accurately that the book deals largely with issues surrounding/stemming from substance abuse. It is understandable that this would be a subject dear to the author's heart, since it is the root of her own son's problems. However, I wish she had spent more time researching/delving into other boundary issues, rather than skimming over them so lightly. I also wish she had spent more time dealing with issues related to female adult children (I think there were perhaps one or two examples of daughters, pregnancy-related in both cases; the rest were about sons).

Overall, my takeaway from this book was this: 1) You are not alone. Many other parents are in the same boat. 2) How to recognize if you are enabling. 3) Just stop it. 4) Join a support group, in person or online. 5) Pray. 6) Pray. 7) Read your Bible. 8) Pray. 9) Pray some more. 10) Read your Bible some more. 11) Pray some more. 12) Keep praying.

If you are a devout Christian, or you are a not-so-devout Christian and you want/need a reminder to return to your faith as the ultimate solution to the issues facing you as a parent of a difficult adult child, get this book. Your faith will be renewed, and you may feel much more hopeful by the time you finish. You won't find many concrete answers in this book (several initial suggestions, yes, but without much follow-through). But surrender and pray really hard and God will reveal those answers to you.

If you're not Christian, or if reading extremely religiously-slanted advice annoys you, you'd probably do better to keep looking for a book dealing with Enabling or CoDependence that has more practical solutions from a secular viewpoint.
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on April 20, 2008
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 winner!
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on April 3, 2008
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.
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on June 27, 2010
Allison is right-on about dealing with the heart-breaking situation of adult children! I would have never had the skills (much less nerve) to set boundaries with my out of control Adult Child,who is 44! He has caused so much grief and heartbreak in our family. I think genetics also has a large roll with the irresponsible adult child. I have two other children who are responsible adults. However, my son chose (at his father's persuasion, to go to live with him at 14, and no, he was not supervised.) Whatever the reason, I am now moving on (finally) to a life of joy at last. Without her guidance, I would still be struggling to remove my adult child from my house, and to get some peace. I found the scriptures to be comforting. If you don't, it is still an irreplaceable book for dealing with adult children! THE BEST advice I have found in 20 years!
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on May 31, 2014
Reading the description of this book, I expected a more practical guide with real life examples, and less emphasis on Christianity and religion. If you are considering this book, you should know that there is hardly a page that does not discuss God, prayer, and quote bible verses. There is nothing wrong with that, but people should know what they are buying before they do so. I am a Christian, but it was too much for me.
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on November 7, 2014
The frequent bible verses quoted and frequent mention of turning to the Lord were a real turn off. It distracted from what helpful information was contained in the book. I am a religious person myself, but felt the book was like reading a church sermon or newsletter. The boundaries were geared more towards a 'failure to launch' adult child. It did not provide guidelines for boundaries for an adult child living away from home, nor suggested templates for composing the boundaries. Personally, I would not recommend the book.
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