Setting Boundaries: The Principle

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Why do we need to set boundaries with our Adult Children?

We barely ever see them, shouldn’t we just be HAPPY to have them around?

What if they need me and I am not there?

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As young children, our kids knew boundaries kept them safe. They ventured as far as the fence in the backyard, or the neighbor’s house, or the next door woods. As long as they knew where the boundary lay, they felt safe to go RIGHT UP to the line. 

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Time, such as bedtime, threw up a boundary.  Teeth brushing, story reading, prayer saying all happened BEFORE the appointed hour.

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When they became adults, some of our kids lost sight of the boundaries. Staying up all night at college or wandering far from home blurred the lines that once stood as fences around their time and space. Re-enter the life of Mom and Dad.

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When adult children return to the nest, clear guidelines make for happy home life. When a young adult is free to roam with no limits on her freedom she begins to feel insignificant to the home life. Often, parents of adult children believe that their adult children want NO BOUNDARIES to the time they can come and go, money they can spend, or space in the home they can take up. However, if a child was raised with legitimate boundaries in the home and no boundaries remain the person experiences diffidence.  A once boustrous, fun-loving human now becomes sullen and depressed. 

PEOPLE DEPEND ON BOUNDARIES TO FEEL SAFE AND FAMILIAR. WHEN THE FAMILIAR IS REMOVED, THE HUMANS WITHOUT BOUNDARIES ARE LEFT LOST AND CONFUSED.

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 Remember when your teenager would ask you if she could spend the night with a friend or go to a party only to cup her hand over the phone so the friend couldn’t hear and whisper to you, “Say no! I don’t really want to go?”  The same is true now: your adult child returning home might SCREAM “I wanna be free!” And you must hear, “I wanna be free inside the graceful boundaries you set for me.”

What boundaries do you set for your adult children? In the next few weeks we want to talk about boundaries of our time, our money, our space and how all this relates to our Adult Children. I would love to hear some success stories (and even a nightmare or two) of the boundaries you have set with your Adult Children.  

Author: Dr. Johnnie K. Seago

Johnnie Seago is a national conference speaker who is passionate about building leadership in families. As the mother to eight adult children, she desires families to learn to connect and communicate to build a community of support. She extends her leadership and team building experience to schools, businesses, and civic groups. Johnnie’s messages equip leaders to: Find their strength in the design God used to create them Find their purpose for which God created them Partner with others for support in reaching goals Commit to the dreams God has placed on their heart Become accountable for their success as leaders Johnnie’s ministry to families includes: Helping families transition from childhood to adulthood Teaching parents to communicate with their adult children Working through difficult situations as teens become adults Providing resources and ideas for productive grand-parenting Johnnie and her husband, Ted has been married for 40 years. They live in the suburbs of Houston, Texas on a lake where they enjoy boating and water sports and the occasional day of floating and reading.

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