Once upon a time, in a country not so far away, children grew up, left home for college, and got married. By age 25 or so they were ensconced in families of their own, and the cycle began all over again . . . 

That’s not happening any more.  I left home at 18 and married at 22 (the very DAY after my college graduation), but I don’t see anything close to that happening with my children or most of the children of my friends.  I’m not sure why society has shifted, but it has, and parents are often at a loss when dealing with these twenty-something children who are not ready (or willing) to be on their own and not quite children, either. 
My good friend Allison Bottke has written a book, SETTING BOUNDARIES WITH YOUR ADULT CHILDREN, that may be a lifesaver for you or someone you know. Allison did tons of research, speaking with parents and other authorities, about how we can love our children without enabling them. About how we can honor God in our child-rearing efforts at an age when child-rearing is usually long finished. 
If you have a twenty-something child, you need to read this book.  Seriously. I have seen so many parents nearly bankrupt themselves and completely drain themselves emotionally because these ought-to-be-grown children can’t seem to stand on their own two feet. We seem to be very good at making excuses for them, and not so good at setting boundaries . . . 
(Just this morning on GMA I watched a mother defend her “wonderful” son who had hired hit men to kill his parents. Parental love is a powerful thing, but boy, can it be blind . . .) 
Allison lists six steps to SANITY, and then explores them: 
  1. Stop enabling, stop blaming yourself, and stop the flow of money
  2. Assemble a support group
  3. Nip excuses in the bud
  4. Implement rules and boundaries
  5. Trust your instincts
  6. Yield everything to God.
I highly recommend this book.  You can order it here. 


  1. Dana

    Hmmm… My husband and I need a book titled, “Setting Boundaries with Your Parents”. Or… Maybe we should get this book for our parents… Family is so hard sometimes. A pastor in our church has a saying: “People are messy.”

  2. Margie Vawter

    I’m finding that parenting my twenty-somethings is much harder than when they were younger. The oldest made the transition well, sometimes too well, I think :). And the youngest we’re still in transition with. When I think that when I was almost 26 (my daughter’s age now), I was married and we had our first child (her!), it’s no wonder I’m not sure where she’s coming from most of the time! It sure puts me on my knees often for wisdom. I’m looking forward to reading Allison’s book.

  3. Lynette Sowell

    Oh wow, I need to get this for some friends and my mother-in-law! What a great idea. My dh and I were just talking about adult children of friends who ought to be totally independent of mom and dad, but they aren’t.


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