Okay, it's time for another in our totally random series of author interviews, which means you could win a FREE BOOK!
Today, we welcome author Allison Bottke, whose newest book, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children, is really getting a lot of attention these days! Some of you recognize Allison as the founder of the Boomer Babes Rock website and blog, where I am privileged to be a part of her blog team. My kids are not yet adults, but I found this book very helpful--it reminded me that setting boundaries is a life-long process, and I need to be helping my kids to become self-sufficient and responsible at every age.
Allison's story is a compelling one. Read the interview, and if you post a comment or question, you'll be entered in our drawing to win a free copy of the book.
KWK: Welcome to Deep Breathing for the Soul, Allison!
ALLISON: Thanks, it's great to be here.
KWK: This was a powerful book. What made it even more compelling was the fact that it 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.
KWK: 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.
KWK: 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.
KWK: So, what can parents 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.
KWK: You've not only walked this road, you're still walking it, and you have a passion to help others along the pathway. Am I correct? And what one thing would you like to say today to those along the path?
ALLISON: I do have a heart for parents and grandparents who are in pain—who are struggling with out-of-control adult children. I know in the depths of my heart and soul what this devastation feels like. The main thing I ask parents and grandparents to cling to is this: Do not underestimate the power of God to restore your heart, your adult child and your relationship.
KWK: 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.
KWK: Where can my readers go for more information on your book and on the S.A.N.I.T.Y. ministry?
ALLISON: Everything you could possibly need is contained on our web site at: http://www.sanitysupport.com/blogtourguests.htm.
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!
Okay, readers, now it's your turn. What questions or comments do you have for Allison, or about the book? Remember, each time you post a comment, you are entered to win a free copy of this book. If you know a mom of an adult child who is really struggling, this book might be a meaningful Mother's Day gift!