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Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Kids

The healthiest relationships have the strongest boundaries. If you are a parent who has trouble establishing boundaries with your adult children, this is your podcast. It can be hard to set a boundary, and then it can also be hard to uphold a boundary once you set it. Often, we are setting boundaries incorrectly and don’t really understand their purpose and how to set a boundary that protects you and eventually strengthens the relationship. This episode will help you understand boundaries better and gives you a few examples of when to set a boundary and what that looks like.

If you want to be notified about the different classes or programs coming up that can help you heal your family relationships, click below and join my email list. Those people on my list are the first to know what’s coming up and I offer special discounts and bonuses to those on my list.


Full Transcript


boundary, relationship, person, boundary violation, life, child, enable, sacrifice, work, grandkids, adult,

Hey, welcome to The Parenting Through the Detour podcast. You’re listening to Episode 39, Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Kids.

Howard W. Hunter said, “Your detours and disappointments are the straight and narrow way back to him.” And we know that men and women are that they might have joy. But when you get taken on a parenting detour, it feels like joy is something that other people get to feel. But not you. It doesn’t have to be this way. Join me on this podcast. And let’s find some joy through your detours. And we’ll give you some help along the way. I’m your host, Tina Gosney. And I’m a life and relationship coach, and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I’m so glad to have you back at parenting through the detour podcast today. Really appreciate you tuning in each week and listening. And I’ve gotten some great feedback from you. And I’m so glad that the things that I’m sharing with you are helping you in your life with your relationships. Now, next week begins my beta testing for a new program that I’m launching soon. And the registration is closed, all the clients that I have signed up are so great. Some of them I haven’t met in person yet only through email and only through their getting to know them through their application that they submitted. But I can tell already that we’re going to have a great month of this beta testing over the next month.

And if you didn’t get in on this beta testing, I want you to be listening for when the full version is rolled out later this year. I’m not exactly sure when that’s going to be probably late spring, early summer right around then. So be watching for that when it comes because this program is just going to get so much better through this beta testing as we tweak and work out some of the kinks. And I want to let you know,

I’m also working on a master class that I think you’re really gonna love. It’s all about healing the relationships in your family, beginning with you. Because you know, that’s the only place you really have any control anyway, is yourself. But we always begin healing relationships by looking within. Did you know that studies have shown that the greatest indicator of good health of life satisfaction, overall well being is determined by the quality of your closest relationships. This is why I’m doing what I’m doing. This is why I’m sharing these things with you on this podcast and why I’m so passionate about helping families heal the relationships that they have with each other.

I’ve seen how these tools have worked in my own life. I’ve seen how they’ve worked in my clients. And I feel so drawn to help other people heal those close family relationships. So that they can also begin living a healthier and more meaningful life and find that satisfaction and the overall well being that comes from having good quality close relationships in your life.

Now I wanted to talk about boundaries today. Kind of as a balance to what I did in February where I just talked about love. I think some people get really confused with this concept of unconditional love. Because we don’t factor in boundaries into it. And so I want to balance those episodes with this one about boundaries.

And I recently had a client who was really struggling with their relationship she has with her adult daughter. And this daughter is calling her up and she’s yelling at her saying really unkind things. And sometimes this daughter is just not speaking to her. And she’s just cutting mom out of her life. And she’s making threats about wanting mom to do certain things in order for mom to be able to see her grandkids. Now this daughter is really what she’s doing is manipulating her mother. So she get what she wants, because she knows that mom is going to do anything for those grandkids and she’ll do anything to be in their lives. And so that’s the way the daughter is manipulating mom to get what she wants. And there’s probably some more things going on with his daughter. And unless I spoke to her, which I didn’t say spoke to her I wouldn’t know why she’s doing the things that she’s doing. There’s probably some underlying things there. But we all have our own things right, we all have things that from our past and things that have, you know that we are in the back of our minds or buried from relationships that cause us to behave the way that we do. But given that, we still have boundaries that we need to put in place with other people in situations like this. So this is a situation where boundaries are called for.

And I get asked all the time, about boundaries, because I know it can be very confusing for a lot of people to understand. Because there are so many situations where we don’t know if we need to establish a boundary, or we just want someone to behave differently. And I’m going to tell you, it really depends on the situation. And it depends on the motivation behind the action that you want to take. For instance, let’s say you have an unwed daughter, who has a baby who asks you to babysit her child.

And you’re saying, Well, I’m not going to babysit for her because I don’t agree with her having premarital sex, she’s going to have to deal with the consequences of that on her own. Well, this is not actually a boundary violation, this is you sending a message of disapproval for her actions. This is just you wanting her to behave differently than she already has. And maybe that she has right now. It’s not a boundary violation. Let’s say you have that same data that asks you to babysit, and you do. But she has gone for hours longer than she said she would. And let’s also say that she’s insisting that you just drop whatever you’re doing to watch her child because she needs you.

This could be a boundary violation if you are feeling taken advantage of, and you’re sacrificing your own life and your needs to take care of hers. And I see parents doing this in different ways all the time, we let ourselves be taken advantage of. And we drop whatever we have going in our life, our needs and our desires in our own life to help our kids. And we love to do it. Most of the time, let’s just be honest about that. We are so willing to go in there and help our kids with whatever they need. We don’t want to see them suffer.

We don’t want to see them struggle. And we try to help them in so many ways. And in doing that, often, we will sacrifice our own mental, emotional, spiritual, and sometimes physical well being. We sacrifice those things for our children. And we want to, but there’s some times we need to put some boundaries into place. When our kids are adults. We want them to be adults. We want to be careful not to overstep their boundaries. But we let them break ours all the time.

Now, I was driving yesterday, and on the radio came Dave Ramsey. Rarely. Listen, I used to listen to Dave Ramsey all the time. But I rarely hear him anymore. It just happened to be tuned into his show. And I happened to be in the car when he came on. I don’t even know the question he was answering. Because I did not hear the question. But I’m guessing I can guess what it was because this was his answer. And he was kind of you know, if you’ve listened to Dave Ramsey, you know, you can kind of rant sometimes. And he was saying, Don’t let your 36 year old live in your basement, it’s not nice for you as their parent, to allow your 36 year old to live in your basement and play video games, you do not let them become a full fledged adult, by enabling them to stay in your basement, not pay rent, and play video games all day, you are not allowing your child to grow up to take responsibility for themselves. And it’s not kind and giving to do that it’s enabling. He equated it to an alcoholic. He said you don’t give alcohol to an alcoholic. It’s not nice, and you don’t enable your adult child to stay in their non adultness, to stay in their lack of responsibility life. So I’m guessing, you know, you could probably guess what the question was, it’s pretty easy to figure out.

But we do this in many ways we enable our children to not take full responsibility for themselves, and to not fully grew up and experience the satisfaction of taking care of themselves. And it’s not to say that we don’t help our kids. It’s to say that we allow them to be adults. And we also respect ourselves in our own lives and our own things that we have in our lives that we want to take care of. I want to tell you when you don’t set boundaries, and you just allow you just allow yourself to give and give and give without thought to yourself, without respect to yourself, you don’t have an authentic relationship, what ends up happening is, you end up having a little or sometimes a lot of resentment towards the person that you’re not setting a boundary with. And if you’re like most people, you express that resentment you feel to everyone else except the person that you need to be setting the boundary with.

Or the resentment comes out in different ways in in blowing up about little things, or expressing disapproval in little things. That we avoid the topic of a boundary. And you’re not honest with yourself about what you need. In order to take care of you. You’re doing several things, you’re telling yourself that what you need and want is not as important as what your child needs. And once it that dehumanizes you. By not setting this boundary, you’re also communicating to that person, your child, you are more important than me. So it’s okay for you to treat me this way. When you don’t speak up and say what you need and want. You don’t do it sometimes, because you’re afraid of the ramifications that might come later. When you don’t speak up like that, and you just allow things to keep going on. You are living in a state of fear, a fear of what might happen in the future.

And that is really a state of scarcity. A Thinking line of lay might not be able to have this relationship anymore. If I set a boundary, and that’s just not okay, I just have to have this relationship. So what ends up happening is that we sacrifice ourselves in the process of trying to have a positive relationship with our child. Now, this doesn’t just happen in parent and child relationships. But I’m talking about it in this way. Because this is a parenting podcast. It can happen in many, many different relationships in our lives. When we don’t set boundaries, we actually don’t have a good relationship anyway. And we’re just fooling ourselves that we do because we’re swallowing everything that humanizes us as a person, and that deserves love and respect. So what we end up having is an inauthentic relationship. And we enable bad behavior in others by allowing them to overstep a boundary that we need to put into place. But you know, it’s really easy to not set a boundary.

And it’s really easy to not enforce a boundary that we think should be in place, and just sacrifice ourselves ourselves instead. Because in order to set that boundary, we have to admit that we’re allowing a person to take advantage of us and treat us poorly. And we need to acknowledge that there is a risk that the person might become very upset, and blow up or sever the relationship entirely. And we want to keep the peace, it’s easier to keep the peace by just swallowing our own needs, and sacrificing ourselves in order to achieve that peace. But this is really no way to live.

When I tell you, this is not a healthy way to live, all those emotions, all that resentment, all that dehumanizing of yourself is going to build up and be pent up in your body and it’s going to come out in one way or another. These are the main two ways that it comes out. First of all, it might just explode one day. And you might just verbally vomit all over everybody within your reach. And then you’ll feel really terrible. After you do that, you’re going to have to go back and do some damage control. Also, a very common way for it to come out is as manifestations of sicknesses and illnesses in your body, your body stores that pent up emotion, it stores the things that you’re swallowing, they don’t go away just because you don’t express them.

They come out in illness, sickness, aches and pains, headaches, fatigue, all these things, these physical manifestations. That’s how your body takes care of them because it literally can’t hold on to them anymore. And it’s trying to get your attention. It’s telling you, you need to deal with this stress. You need to deal with this or I’m going to have to deal with it this way. That’s really what your body is trying to tell you. So your body’s going to deal with that stress of you not setting a boundary if you don’t take action and make it happen. And you know there are positive things about setting boundaries, as hard as it feels like it might be to set. When you set a boundary for yourself, you develop more confidence in you. And lots of times, we think that we don’t have the enough confidence to begin with to even set a boundary. But it actually comes by setting a boundary. So we develop confidence as we do the hard things, and follow through in the doing of it.

So what does a boundary even look like? Well, it begins with love for you. And for the other person, if you’re not feeling love for you, and for the other person, you are not ready to set a boundary, you need to do some work to get yourself in that place. It’s also not an attempt to control or manipulate the other person, it’s more about taking care of yourself, if you are thinking about a boundary. And thinking about requiring the other person to do anything different than they are right now. You’re not thinking about a boundary correctly, because that is controlling a manipulation. A boundary actually tell someone else that they can keep doing whatever they’re doing.

But it lets them know what you will do to take care of yourself. If they choose to keep doing that thing. It looks like if you do this, then I will do that the same client that I was talking about before, who has a daughter that yells at her and is disrespectful to her, you know, a possibility to set a boundary would look like, If you yell at me when I’m talking to you, I’m not going to talk to you anymore, I’m going to hang up, it can be as simple as that. You could look at the example of a child who uses the grandkids to manipulate the parent and say something along the lines of and that well, and this one actually expresses more love and kindness to the person.

And you could say something like, I am so sorry that you’ve chosen to use these grandkids to try to get me to do this. But they really don’t have anything to do with what we’re talking about. I love you and me and those kids too much to be used in that way. So I’m going to talk to you again, when those grandkids are not brought into something that’s just between us. And I’m ready to talk again when we can leave them out of it. So for now, I’m just going to leave this conversation. These are two examples of if you do this, then I’m going to do that these are boundaries, they tell the other person that they can keep acting just the same, it’s totally their choice, they have that option to do that. But then it also tells them that you are going to take measures to take care of you.

If they keep behaving that way, we usually don’t know what our boundaries are until they’ve been broken. Like, you’ll know when a boundary has been violated by how you feel in the moment, or afterwards, it’s going to feel like something just doesn’t sit right. Or maybe like you gave part of yourself away like you sacrificed part of yourself. Or there might be some shame and embarrassment, this hiding this part of your relationship from others. Because you know there’s something wrong with it, and you still allow it to happen. That might be some of the the ways that you are clued in to like this might be a boundary that I need to put into place.

And there’s for sure, there’s going to be times when you set a boundary, and you tell the other person you tell your child, if you do this, then I’m going to do that. And then they do this thing that you told them that you are going to take action to protect yourself. And you’re not going to want to enforce that boundary. Because it’s going to feel like you’re going to damage their relationship, if you do limited tell you that you already have a damaged relationship. If you are not putting boundaries into place when they need to be there. It’s already damaged. And I’ll also tell you that the strongest relationships, the healthiest relationships have very strong boundaries.

But you’re also not going to want to uphold your boundary especially if you’re living in scarcity in this relationship with fear about it being damaged or going away. And if this is you if you are afraid of establishing a boundary if you’re confused about it if you maybe have tried boundaries in the past and you have just given in in the moment and not kept strong to that boundary upheld it when it was a moment when you needed to uphold it. I want you to get on my email list so that you will know what I’m offering this new masterclass.

I want you to go to tinagosney.com and click on the Start Here button at the top. First of all you’re going to get a free training but you’re also going to be asked added to my email list. And you’ll be notified when I have things like this masterclass coming up, or this beta test that just closed the applicant, the applications are closed now. Now, on this podcast, there’s a lot of information, I give you a lot of tools, a lot of ideas, and some ways to implement these things. But that’s not where the true learning happens. The true learning and transformation comes when you begin to use the things that you’re learning in this podcast in your life. And I know how hard it can be to do that, or, and I know how hard it is to understand if you’re correctly using these tools, if you understand them enough to correctly apply them in your life. And that’s where coaching comes in.

So if you like what you’re hearing on this podcast, I want you to go to tinagosney.com, I want you to sign up for my email list. And you’ll be notified about different opportunities that I have to work with me in the future. Now, the best, most authentic relationships have strong boundaries. When you don’t set boundaries, and you don’t talk about the hard things in a relationship, you don’t actually have an authentic, loving relationship with the other person or with yourself. You sell a little bit of you every time you allow that boundary to be broken.

And eventually there will be little left of you to salvage. Now, I want you to remember that boundaries come from love for yourself, and love for the other person. And they are communicating to the other person that you value them. And you value their relationship that you have with them. But this is the way I take care of myself. This is the one of the ways that I practice self care, you practice self care, because even when our children are adults, they still learn by watching others. And you want them to practice self care. And you can model this behavior for them so that they can set healthy boundaries for themselves in the future. That’s what I have for you today.

Thank you so much for being here with me today. I love that you are tuning in each week, and that you’re learning so much. I want you to go to Tina gosney.com get your name on my email list. And together we can work to begin healing your family relationships. So you don’t have to feel stuck selling part of yourself anymore. There’s a link in the show notes to go straight to that free training and get on my email. So go click that, and I’ll see you next week.