Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Allison Bottke on Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children

Allison BottkeI’m thrilled to feature another non-fiction book today: Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents by the incredible Allison Bottke.


Writing from firsthand experience, Allison Bottke identifies the lies that kept her, and ultimately her adult son in bondage-and how she overcame them. Additional real life stories from other parents are woven through the text. Most important...six concrete steps to hope and healing are the key elements of this landmark book.

Addressing a worldwide epidemic, this important and compassionate new book from the creator of the successful God Allows U-Turns series will help parents and grandparents of the countless adult children who continue to make life painful for their loved ones.

A frequent guest on radio and TV programs around the country, the 700 Club featured her life story in what has become one of their highest rated programs ever, and she has appeared on the covers of such national magazines as Writer's Digest, BOND, The Christian Communicator, O.H. Magazine and others. With 23 non-fiction and fiction books published since 2001, Allison speaks and teaches at conferences around the country. Her column for baby boomer women, Boomer Babes Rock! appears monthly in Christian Women Online (CWO).


The book 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.

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.

You say the main problem with dysfunctional adult children isn’t the choice they make or don’t make – but something else entirely. If their choices aren’t the main problem, what is?
ALLISON: Our biggest problem isn’t about our adult child’s inability to wake up when their alarm clock rings, or their inability to keep a schedule, or their inability to hold down a job or pay their bills. It’s not about their drug use or alcohol addictions. It’s not about the mess they’re making of their life. The main problem is about the part we’re playing in stepping in to soften the blow of the consequences that come from the choices they make. The main problem is us. Instead of praying to God to stop the pain, remove the difficulty, or change the life of our adult child, we must rise up and pray for something entirely different. We must pray for the courage to look deep in our own heart and soul—pray for the strength to begin a journey that quite possibly may change our own life—and pray for the wisdom to make new choices in our own life

Why are you so passionate about reaching out to other parents?
ALLISON: Because I’ve been there—I still am in many ways. I’m a parent who has traveled this painful road of enabling. I understand what it feels like to have your heart break because of a choice our adult child has made.

Allison Bottke CoverThat is the ultimate goal of Setting Boundaries?
ALLISON: While recognizing and identifying enabling issues must come before positive change can be made, it is the eventual peace and healing parents will feel as they gain power in their own lives that is the goal of this book. It’s a tough love book for coping with dysfunctional adult children, as well as getting our own lives back on track, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children empowers families by offering hope and healing through six S.A.N.I.T.Y. steps. I walk parents through a six step program to regaining control in their home, and in their life.

What are the six steps for hope and healing you refer to in Setting Boundaries With Your Adult Children?
ALLISON: S.A.N.I.T.Y. Six Steps for Regaining a Healthy Relationship with Adult Children
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)

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:

The S.A.N.I.T.Y. Support Group Network is a powerful resource to help parents and grandparents who have challenging adult children gain S.A.N.I.T.Y. in a world spinning
out of control. During the years I spent as an enabling parent there were no support groups available for me as a parent in pain. Although it’s a tremendously successful program, AA wasn’t quite right for me, and I attended a few Alanon meetings, but the kind of empowering strength I needed for my situation wasn’t available. I needed to hear from others who had walked in my shoes—I needed to hear what they were doing that worked. I needed people around me who would lovingly hold me accountable to my own choices as I experienced the journey of parenting and enabling a dysfunctional adult child. I needed an action plan to help me make changes in my life.

I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt as I was writing Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Child that a vital part of the outreach would be the development of an international support group network based on the six S.A.N.I.T.Y. steps I had developed.
We need a resource that can help us to set appropriate boundaries and get some S.A.N.I.TY. in our households, as well as assuring us that we are walking in God’s will. Following the steps outlined in Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Child is a start in addressing this issue. Attending, and/or facilitating a S.A.N.I.T.Y. Support Group in your community is the next vital step in gaining hope as you walk the often painful path to healing.

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:

I encourage your readers to tell me what they think about Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Child. I really do want to hear reader feedback. They can reach me at: Please be sure to visit our web site at 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!


Allison Bottke is a gifted teacher, but that’s not all she brings to her latest book. She’s also a mom who’s been there. Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Child opens with a section titled “Why I Had to Write This Book” in which Bottke shares some of what she’s gone through with her own son. Full of insight and hope, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Child will encourage, support and equip you to deal with one of the hardest trials a parent can face: watching your adult child follow the wrong path and face the fact that you can’t fix it. Even if you don’t have adult children, I recommend picking up this book to give you some perspective, a glimpse of what you might need to watch for as your children grow.

No comments: