If you’re just joining us, we are reading the book Boundaries With Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Dr. John Townsend. Go to the Reading Schedule if you want to start at the beginning.
We are covering chapters 16 and 17 this week. If you would like to join us, you can download the book for Kindle through my affiliate link: Boundaries With Teens and get started right away. Come back every Monday from now through the end of July, as we cover 2 chapters per week and discuss them in the comments of each week’s post.
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This week is all about motivations and setting boundaries.
What do you think of when you consider the word ‘boundaries’? If you’re like me, you think about rules. Dr. Townsend explained that boundaries are much more than just rules made up to keep our kids in line. What more, they can’t learn to live by or accept boundaries without us. It just doesn’t come naturally to any of us.
“Teens need love, self-control, values, restraint, and a sense of responsibility for their lives. But they do not come by this without the hard work of their parents.”
As much as I might like to set the rules and move on with my life, it’s not a “set it and forget it” proposition. The boundaries have to serve a purpose that make sense to the teenager. This is not easy. This is not fun. This is work!
Dr. Townsend mentioned that many times, parents will skip the why and how chapters (the ones we’re covering this week) and jump right to the the chapters on specific problems that teens have. The trouble is that we learn a lot through these chapters that will serve us well later on. If you’re tempted to just jump the the solutions for the problems, let me encourage you to stick it out and read this week’s chapters first.
We are still in the discovery mode. Kids don’t just turn rebellious and obnoxious out of the blue. Every issue has a reason behind it. You have to turn detective and try to find out what that reason is.
It’s tempting to jump straight into enforcing consequences for bad behavior (and often that may be warranted,) but if you’ve lost your child’s heart, or if he’s lost it to someone else as in the break up of a friendship or romantic interest, then you won’t get it back on track by piling up discipline. This takes tact, and genuine caring on your part. If a kid is past caring for himself, then consequences won’t have much effect.
Dr. Townsend recommends using Four Anchors of Boundary Setting:
I’m not going to go into depth about these here, because I simply can’t do it justice. In a nutshell, your teen needs to know you LOVE her, in order for her to receive what you’re saying. She needs to know the TRUTH about what is and isn’t acceptable in your home. She needs the FREEDOM to choose the right or the wrong way. And she needs to understand the REALITY of what will happen if she chooses the way that isn’t for her best interest. Please, if you haven’t already read chapters 16 and 17, DO.
Rules should be specific, understandable, reasonable, and applicable. And when your teen decides to choose the wrong way, Dr. Townsend says, “Don’t get mad. Get clear.”
I’m ashamed to say that we are the parents who always tended to jump straight to the REALITY with our older kids. This is what will happen and BAM! here’s your consequences. We weren’t the best about expressing in a loving way our reasons for the boundary in the first place. Thankfully God’s not done with us yet.
Tell me your thoughts on this week’s reading. How will the Four Anchors help you inyour parenting?
Join us next week as we discuss Chapters 18 and 19.