Boundaries with Teens
Boundaries with Teens

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Product Description

In this exciting new book, Dr. Townsend gives important keys for establishing healthy boundaries-the bedrock of good relationships, maturity, safety, and growth for teens and the adults in their lives. The book offers help in raising your teens to take responsibility for their actions, attitudes, and emotions.

Customer Reviews:

  • Very encouraging for parents---a must read--if you have teenagers
    I just finished this book and I felt very encouraged to find that we as parents are not alone in some of these experiences and my child is very normal. It can be very frustrating to be a parent of a teen--but this book was written very well and easy to understand....more info
  • You want specifics? You get specifics!
    Dr. Townsend continues the fine tradition of the Boundaries series of Townsend and Cloud. As a youth leader, counselor, and as a father of 2 teens himself, Townsend addresses some basic underlying concepts for parenting teens. The first three sections of the book are entitled: "Be a Parent with Boundaries," "Understand the Teenage World," and "Set Boundaries with Your Teen." The focus here is equipping parents to build better relationships with their teens.

    By far the largest fourth section of the book deals with specific issues involved in parenting adolescents: academics, agression, substance abuse, argumentativeness, breaking agreements, chores, clothing, curfews, self-mutilation, deception, defiance, family detachment, disrepect, driving, spirituality, ignoring parents, impulsive behaviors, the internet, handling money, moodiness, parties, peer relationships, phone usage, runaways, sexuality, and the silent treatment.

    Townsend balances comforting parents in the difficult situations they find themselves in with teens, practical suggestions for working with teens on their own, and highlighting red flag behaviors that need professional intervention. The book is very readable and easily completed over a weekend. Following through on the suggestions will take longer, but Townsend helps encourage parents to hang in there!...more info
  • Offers encouragement to parents on every page
    The problem with most self-help books is that we turn to them when all else has failed, and often it is too late to deal effectively with the current crisis. Not that they can't help to point us in the right direction, but the advice would have been a lot more helpful if we had sought it before we got into the problem. Unfortunately, human nature seems to adhere to the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. So we fail to anticipate future problems and find ourselves scrambling for help when "it (inevitably) breaks."

    Fortunately, for parents today, there are some excellent books available that can help them prepare for their child's stages of development. These books, written by people who have worked through many of parenting's pitfalls, can make the journey so much smoother and more enjoyable. Dr. John Townsend, who often co-authors with Dr. Henry Cloud, has written a series of books dealing with parenting and relationships that definitely falls into this category. These titles include RAISING GREAT KIDS, HOW PEOPLE GROW, BOUNDARIES WITH KIDS and BOUNDARIES IN MARRIAGE, plus others.

    We have heard that a child's personality and tendencies are formed by the time he or she is eight years old. So what hope do parents have when their 14-year-old becomes rude and disrespectful, refusing to follow even the simplest of family rules? According to BOUNDARIES WITH TEENS, help is available, and while the child's personality and tendencies will not be changed, his or her behavior will. This allows the family to function and mom and dad to have a measure of serenity.

    Dr. Townsend says, "I have seen many teens become more responsible, happier, and better prepared for adult life after their parents began to apply the principles and techniques discussed in this book. Many of these teens not only made positive changes in their lives, they also reconnected emotionally with their parents at levels that the parents thought they would never experience again." Using biblical principles as his guide, Dr. Townsend has put together a book that gives parents uncomplicated strategies for dealing with the most common and disturbing problems they are apt to face with their teenagers. Not only is there a chapter outline, there is also a detailed index to help find answers that focus on specific needs.

    In addition to the practical advice, BOUNDARIES WITH TEENS offers encouragement to parents on every page. It reminds them of their own spiritual needs and commitments and gives them hope for success. Raising children is more challenging than ever, and people like Dr. Townsend provide welcome assistance.

    --- Reviewed by Maggie Harding...more info
  • Parenting Help
    This is a very good resource for parenting and any relationship. Very good & worthwhile, easy to impliment, gives you hope & change!...more info
  • Boundaries with Teens: When to say yes, How to say No
    Excellent book, from an excellent Christian author. His writing style is very readable, and his wisdom sound....more info
  • So far very good
    The book arrived yesterday (well ahead of the initial shipping schedule) and I started reading it right away (I have 3 teenaged boys). After only being about 40 pages in, I'm wondering why I didn't buy this book long ago. It probably could have saved our family some conflict and frustration. As the book says, it's never too late so I don't lose hope....more info
  • Clear guidance for a troublesome time!
    The author clarifies the teenager experience in a way that removes a lot of the stress and worry from our perceptions of it. Teenagers do make sense and there is a clear and reasonable way to help them navigate their way through the culture and their emotions.

    The book first underlines the importance of boundaries. It then goes on to explain that parents need to have healthy boundaries in order to pass on boundaries to their teens. It ends with specific ways of enforcing boundaries with your teens. The emphasis of the book is to use love and limits to create an internally-integrated adult out of a teen; in other words, the teens internally adopt the boundaries you show them so they have their own independent structure.

    I am currently going back through the book to take notes. The book has a lot of information to digest and since the information is so practical I want to make sure I won't forget it when I have the opportunity to apply it. I think it is an excellent book and I highly recommend it. If/when the author writes a workbook for this book, I will definitely buy it....more info
  • Wish I had realized I was in the religoius section.
    I originally did a search for a book on teen behavior. I didn't realized that this book was in the religous section, otherwise I would not have purchased it, as I am not religous. The author uses a lot of quotes from the Bible and overuses the word "God". I got 3/4 of the way through the book and decided I had had enough of the religous references.
    Overall, the author did a good job using examples of poor behavior, good behavior, and how to deal with the poor behavior.
    I would recommend the book for religous people but not to those who prefer non-religous based books....more info
  • A Must Read for Every Parent
    This book is quick and easy to read due to its methodical layout. The first three parts of the book set the stage for helping parents understand the teenage mind and the general concepts of setting boundaries. Part four lists specific issues most parents of teens will deal with. In each specific issue, the author defines the problem and then describes how to handle the problem. I recommend parents read the book from beginning to end to get the entire picture and benefit of the author's advice. What's nice about the fourth part of the book is that parents can time and time again flip to the specific behavior they are dealing with and review the advice. So far, Dr. Townsend's advice is working wonderfully in our household. I wish this book had been around years ago when my oldest became a teenager! I plan to buy copies of the book for my friends with teenagers....more info
  • Bounderies for Teens
    This is the most insighful book I've read yet on raising a teen. I found myself encouraged and underlining passages on almost every page. Most of this review is simply excerpts of what I have found the most informative. Freedom for teens is earned by demonstrating responsibility and parents need to find the right balance between being too controlling and when they are being healthy and appropriate about saying "no". When parents set limits they're helping teens learn to develop a healthy structure and gain self-control and ownership over their life. We need to be active, be loving, be present, be truthful, be consistent; in other words, be the parent. Teenagers act like they don't care what their parents think and say but in reality it matters a lot to them. It is easy to forget how difficult the teenage years can be, and parents sometimes judge teens too harshly for behaving like a teenager. Your teen needs a parent who will connect with her and show her empathy, who can identify with what she is going through and understand the struggle of adolescence. She needs to know that she is not alone in her fight. What if every time you screwed up all you heard was "what in the world were you thinking". Your teen, whose brain is less developed than yours, is even less resilient in the face of criticism. Teens don't like conflict with their parents anymore than parents do. Aim to know your teen rather than change them. Learn to listen to your teen more - draw her out, so you can see what she is thinking about and struggling with. Refrain from moralizing about every wrong thing you hear.
    Ask questions that require more than a "yes" or "no". Begin with questions about facts, move to thoughts, and then to emotions. Your teen needs to know you know her on a heart level. Teens will develop self-control and responsibility to the extent parents have healthy boundaries. The more teens experience negative consequences of their poor choices, the more internal structure and self-control they will have.
    Parents need to develop separateness. Parents with separateness can stand apart from their teen's anger, demands and behavior and are able to respond appropriately without getting caught up in the drama. Parents should give up the fantasy that they can make their teens happy. Being honest means directly confronting your teen when they have crossed a line. Parents should stick with rules and consequences, as long as they are reasonable, and say "no" to attempts to manipulate, wear down, or even intimidate them. God made parents to be guardrails on the twisting road of life. You need to be strong enough for kids to crash into over and over again. Guardrails get dinged up, but they work well, they preserve the young lives that run up against them.
    Your teen needs you to be connected to other adults in meaningful relationships. Don't let guilt stop you from doing something right that will make your teen mad, disappointed or frustrated. You need to be free to set and keep limits so your teen can benefit from experiencing structure, clarity and consequences which will increase your teen's self-control and sense of ownership over her life. Some parents fear that if they set limits, their teens will distance themselves, detach and withdraw their love. But this would only teach teens that they get their way by cutting off their love which create difficulty in their future adult relationships. When a teen does disconnect, the parent should take the initiative to reconnect since teens don't have these skills they need their parents help. It is normal for teens to respond in anger when parents hold to limits. However if parents can love and still hold the limit the teen will learn to let go of that anger which is a major step toward maturity. When parents consistently provide their teens with warmth and structure, teens become less extreme, impulsive and moody. Not allowing your teen to fail can be one of the biggest mistakes you make.
    To a teen, being understood is everything. Your teen has a lot to manage considering she is going through lots of changes all at once: neurological, hormonal, emotional, social and spiritual therefore be understanding. Your teen is disoriented inside, and with good reason. It is normal, in fact is good and necessary for your teen to go through adolescence. It enables the teen to transition from parental dependence to adult independence. She needs to be safe in your care while she tries out her identity, role, power and skills. Teens are divided people. They need parents but desire freedom from them, they struggle between being perfect and having a dark side, they can use thought and judgment then switch to feelings and impulsiveness. But your love and consistent structure help your teen integrate these conflicting parts and find healthy balance. Teens often don't know what they think or feel because they are constantly evolving into different people. Do not try to fight your teen's desire for separation, because you will surely lose, as you should. Don't put your teen in a no-win situation when she must keep herself and lose her parents or lose herself and keep her parents. Be a supporter of your kid's extra family world, as long as that world is reasonable, safe and supports your own values and beliefs. Let your teen know that it is okay to have interests outside yourself. Stay connected, even in differences. Don't let conflicts and differences alienate you.
    The teen years are a valid spiritual passage that she must go through in order to own her own faith. It's a time of challenging and questioning in all areas. Your teen needs to wrestle with God. But the struggle needs to be between your teen and God, not between your teen and you. Keep your head out of the sand when it comes to knowing the cultural influences on your teen. Take wise and deliberate action to help them keep these in right perspective. When your teen talks about the culture listen without moralizing. Talk to your teen about these cultural messages. Bring up sex, drugs, violence and ethics. She may resist but remember she is trying to sort it out. Your teen needs you to be clear, explicit and direct about your views. Teens need love, self-control, values, restraint and a sense of responsibility for their lives. They don't come by these without the hard work of their parents. Teens become disconnected from their parents when they believe neither knew or cared about what they felt. Parents should learn to listen without preaching. They should provide love and support and empathize with their teen's struggle. When your teen is underachieving, being disrespectful, or acting out there is always an underlying reason. It is the parent's job to sift and dig below the surface to address the root cause. Problems caused by irresponsibility, immaturity, defiance, self-centeredness and impulsiveness can often be addressed by enforcing consequences. However the problem can be caused by emotional detachment, hurt or discouragement and no amount of bounders setting will work with someone who is down. When you set boundaries on a discouraged teen it only increases their discouragement. This type of teen needs to be lifted up and give grace. Begin with love so that the teen will see that her behavior is the problem and not an out of control angry parent. Love helps the teen point to herself as the problem. Love opens the door to change and truth provides the guidance in the form of rules, requirements and expectations.
    Teens need to know what the line is so they can decide whether or not to cross it. Appropriate rules help your teen to see that structure and responsibility are normal and expected in life. Then give your teen freedom to accept or reject the rules and the reality of the consequences. They need to face consequences to experience that good behavior brings good results and bad behavior brings bad results. Accept that it is normal for your teens to resist the limits parents set. So love your teen, stay connected to her, and support that wrestling process.
    Let your teen participate in the process of setting house rules. Be willing to compromise on matters of preference and style but not on matters of principle. Teens often lash out in anger when they are given boundaries. In these cases you need to contain your teen's feelings. Containing is something you do inside yourself, in "being with" your teen. It is not what you say as much as how present you are. You are allowing yourself to experience your teen's wrath, fury and disappointment with you. This is no small task. It takes work. Containing involves maintaining eye contact, being warm, and not being overwhelmed, defensive, or disrupted by your teen's emotion. It tells your teen "Your anger and frustration are real, but our relationship is larger than those feelings. They don't scare me away, and they don't need to scare you either." This helps the teen feel more stable inside and more receptive to you later.
    Listen empathically is the ability to hear and understand what your teen is saying from her perspective. Empathy allows you to join in and connect and let your teen know she is understood. To do this you need to put your own experience on a backburner. Before you reach a decision about the rightness or wrongness, be understanding and compassionate. Look for feelings of sadness, hurt, rejection or frustration below the facts. The real work is to have empathy when your teen has rage toward you. Let your teen have her anger but don't personalize it. Teens need to have their own feelings and to know what acceptable anger feels like. When your teen disagrees, say, "Interesting thought. Why do you think that"? This approach disarms much of the challenge and provocation. As a parent you are your teen's primary teacher for learning how to disagree and have respect....more info
  • Good help for parents with teens
    Boundaries with Teens has been very helpful for us. We were given the book but since we both have so little time to read, we purchased the book on CD and listen to it in the car. The advice is solid and from a man who actually raised teens. Save me from the eggheads who think they can tell you how to raise kids when they have never had any themselves!...more info
  • Must read for anyone raising a teen.
    When I read this book, it was like someone peeking into our lives. We are Grandparents raising a teen-ager for the past 4 years who has turned 16, is over 6 ft tall,wears size 13 shoes, and sees himself as an adult who should be in charge of his own life as well as ours. Having raised 7 children 2 generations ago we thought we could handle this assignment. Today's children are another issue.In reading Dr Townsend's book we found grandpa, grandma, and the teen described exactly in the book. Unfortunately under the title "This is what not to do". A wonderful book from front to back with a goldmine of useful suggestions and ideas.A must read for those blessed by a teen. ...more info
    Excellent book, great practical advice for parents tackling many issues for adolescents. Love it....more info
  • Boundaries with Teens
    This book is awesome!! I wish I'd had it with my first teenager but it was extremely helpful and validating! It leaves you feeling good about you've done and reinforces what you're doing right (with guidelines).

    I've learned to not take my teenage daughters rude comments to heart. As long as she doesn't cross "that line", we're good. I'm very impressed!...more info


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