You Can’t Set Healthy Boundaries If You’re Worried About Your Child’s Feelings

You can’t set healthy boundaries if you are worried about your adult child’s feelings when he or she is active in their addiction. When you are worried about your child’s feelings first, I have a suspicion that you may be setting weak boundaries which will eventually compromise attempting to support your child finding his or way into recovery.  Unhealthy boundaries may enable a person who is active in their addiction to remain active in their addiction.

Healthy boundaries are essential when dealing with your adult child’s addiction because there is excruciating pain watching our children slowly kill themselves. Parent’s often feel that they are betraying their child, they are afraid to instill healthy boundaries for fear of losing their child.  In order for a parent to survive the nightmare of their child’s drug addiction it is critical that they educate themselves about addiction, codependency, enabling and how to set and enforce healthy boundaries.

Parents who attempt to set healthy boundaries are often frustrated because teen or adult children who are active in their addition know how to push buttons; they know how to manipulate and shame parents in to feeling guilty. They push and manipulate so much that parents often move the finish line to keep peace but it often instills more frustration and anger.

It is imperative that you figure out healthy boundaries that you can live with and are willing to enforce rather than moving the finish line because you feel bad.  It’s very important that you say what you mean, mean what you say and don’t do it or say it in a mean way.  Journaling helped me to figure out my healthy boundaries, by journaling, I go to see the toxic behavior between my son and me.  

Setting healthy boundaries can be as simple as setting a curfew, random drug testing, healthy boundaries are what you will or will not allow in your home period.  After you set your boundaries you must also let your child know what the consequences will be. Setting boundaries is actually the easy part; enforcing them is where parents often drop the ball because it’s challenging.  If you know that you could never send your child out of your home if he or she disrespected a boundary, than don’t set that as a consequence because it isn’t effective if you can’t follow through.

When setting healthily boundaries, you can discuss them with together, you can come to an agreement that you both will abide by.  F.Y.I. parent’s aren’t always innocent by standers, sometimes we’re part of the problem and that is why it’s important to have a discussion with your child who is active in his or her addiction.  Set up some time aside to sit down together and write a contract that you all sign and that way if a boundary is crossed than everyone has it in writing to avoid any misunderstandings plus it will either confirm that you’re not the crazy one or that you are the crazy one.

Nothing changes, if no one changes!

May Your Faith and Strength Heal Your Heart!


Donna Marston