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Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Help Your Children Gain Control of Their Lives

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You want your kids to grow up into healthy adults. You want to see them take responsibility for their behavior, their values, their lives. But maybe you've discovered that simply telling them to "do the right thing" isn't enough. From toddler tantrums to teenage temptations, you've got to help them take ownership of their behavior, feelings, and attitudes. But how? Establis You want your kids to grow up into healthy adults. You want to see them take responsibility for their behavior, their values, their lives. But maybe you've discovered that simply telling them to "do the right thing" isn't enough. From toddler tantrums to teenage temptations, you've got to help them take ownership of their behavior, feelings, and attitudes. But how? Establish healthy boundaries. Boundaries are the bedrock of good relationships, maturity, safety, and growth for your children and for you. Boundaries With Kids will help you prepare your kids to assume the responsibility for their own lives. Drawing on principles from the Bible, the authors of the award winning best-seller Boundaries help you recognize the boundary issues underlying child behavior problems set boundaries and establish consequences with kids get out of the "nagging" trap stop controlling your child - and instead help your child to develop self-control apply ten laws of boundaries to parenting take six practical steps for implementing boundaries with your kids. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend show you how to bring control to an out-of-control family life. How to set limits and still be a loving parent. How to define legitimate boundaries for your family. And above all, how to instill in your children the kind of godly character that is the foundation for healthy, productive adult living.


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You want your kids to grow up into healthy adults. You want to see them take responsibility for their behavior, their values, their lives. But maybe you've discovered that simply telling them to "do the right thing" isn't enough. From toddler tantrums to teenage temptations, you've got to help them take ownership of their behavior, feelings, and attitudes. But how? Establis You want your kids to grow up into healthy adults. You want to see them take responsibility for their behavior, their values, their lives. But maybe you've discovered that simply telling them to "do the right thing" isn't enough. From toddler tantrums to teenage temptations, you've got to help them take ownership of their behavior, feelings, and attitudes. But how? Establish healthy boundaries. Boundaries are the bedrock of good relationships, maturity, safety, and growth for your children and for you. Boundaries With Kids will help you prepare your kids to assume the responsibility for their own lives. Drawing on principles from the Bible, the authors of the award winning best-seller Boundaries help you recognize the boundary issues underlying child behavior problems set boundaries and establish consequences with kids get out of the "nagging" trap stop controlling your child - and instead help your child to develop self-control apply ten laws of boundaries to parenting take six practical steps for implementing boundaries with your kids. Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend show you how to bring control to an out-of-control family life. How to set limits and still be a loving parent. How to define legitimate boundaries for your family. And above all, how to instill in your children the kind of godly character that is the foundation for healthy, productive adult living.

30 review for Boundaries with Kids: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Help Your Children Gain Control of Their Lives

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've been struggling with my 8-year-old. He's very independent which often translates to bossy. If he doesn't get what he wants he will have a tantrum. He likes to argue. Things I liked in this book . . . . You and your child each have a different job. Your child's job is to test your resolve, so he can learn about reality. A parent's job is to withstand the test, including anger, pouting, tantrums and much more. Consequences transfer the need to be responsible from the parent to the child. The fo I've been struggling with my 8-year-old. He's very independent which often translates to bossy. If he doesn't get what he wants he will have a tantrum. He likes to argue. Things I liked in this book . . . . You and your child each have a different job. Your child's job is to test your resolve, so he can learn about reality. A parent's job is to withstand the test, including anger, pouting, tantrums and much more. Consequences transfer the need to be responsible from the parent to the child. The focus of learning consequences needs to be that the child understands that the problem is himself, not an enraged parent. Teach your child that when they have a problem they should first examine themselves to see what they might have done to contribute to the problem. The child who is never frustrated never develops frustration toleration. You are teaching him that he is entitled to always be happy and that all he has to go do get others to do what he wants is to cry about it. A child needs to understand that the solution and the answer to his problems always begins not with someone else, but with him.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Snell

    This was one of those books that encouraged me to keep going on as we've started, and that gave me some good ideas about how to do that. I like their concept that in order to give your kids self-control, you've got to exercise it yourself. You have to be clear and firm about what they may and may not do, and with those boundaries absolutely inviolable, you then have the space to be very compassionate towards your frustrated kids. If the rules aren't up for debate, then you can sympathize with ki This was one of those books that encouraged me to keep going on as we've started, and that gave me some good ideas about how to do that. I like their concept that in order to give your kids self-control, you've got to exercise it yourself. You have to be clear and firm about what they may and may not do, and with those boundaries absolutely inviolable, you then have the space to be very compassionate towards your frustrated kids. If the rules aren't up for debate, then you can sympathize with kids who are experiencing the consequences of breaking the rules, rather than spilling your anger out on them because you don't know how to handle their misbehavior. As the authors point out, your kids always have choices, and your job is to make their choices clear. You can't make a child obey, but you can make the consequences for disobedience exist. And you can help make the good choice more appealing and the bad choice less appealing. What I really like about this book is that it takes into account the fact that when you deal with kids, you're dealing with little sinners (not so unlike their parents, eh?), and that what you really want to do is harness their self-interest. And it works, because ultimately it is in their self-interest to obey, to become good, loving people. In other words, it works because it's based in reality, the reality that children are sinners and the reality that true happiness is found in virtue, not vice.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

    Boundaries with Kids is an invaluable resource filled with great parenting solutions and strategies. As a single mom who struggles with boundaries, I find the advice given by Cloud to be useful not only in application with my child, but also in application with all of my relationships. One of the great aspects of this book is that it is relevant for parents who have children of all ages. I recommend this book to parents whose children already respect boundaries to learn how to continue to place Boundaries with Kids is an invaluable resource filled with great parenting solutions and strategies. As a single mom who struggles with boundaries, I find the advice given by Cloud to be useful not only in application with my child, but also in application with all of my relationships. One of the great aspects of this book is that it is relevant for parents who have children of all ages. I recommend this book to parents whose children already respect boundaries to learn how to continue to place healthy and appropriate boundaries in the future as well as parents with children who are struggling with respect and obedience.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    I received this book from a friend who has two daughters (ages 3 yrs and 6 mos), and she highly recommend I read it some point during my daughter's toddlerhood. I enjoyed the ideas, especially these quotes: Children are not born with boundaries. Too little freedom to gain experience, the child forever remains a child. Too much freedom, the child is in danger of hurting him/herself. If parents give without boundaries, children learn to feel entitled and become self-centered and demanding. If parent I received this book from a friend who has two daughters (ages 3 yrs and 6 mos), and she highly recommend I read it some point during my daughter's toddlerhood. I enjoyed the ideas, especially these quotes: Children are not born with boundaries. Too little freedom to gain experience, the child forever remains a child. Too much freedom, the child is in danger of hurting him/herself. If parents give without boundaries, children learn to feel entitled and become self-centered and demanding. If parents hold resources too tightly, children give up and do not develop the hope of reaching goals. To the extent that a person is able and willing to be honest, he/she can grow. Honesty begins with parents who model it, require it from their children, and provide safe environment in which to be honest. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." (Matthew 22:37) Being grounded in God gives direction and meaning to their existence, allowing them to transcend life. To develop a child of good character, we have to be parents of good character. To develop boundaries in our children, we have to have boundaries. Use the word "boundary" with your child. And tell him/her "you are responsible for your behavior." If you relate to your children in a way that mirror's God's laws, they will make a successful transition to the outside world. The ultimate boundary is love. Our connection with each other and with God is the fabric that holds life together. Relationship heals, comforts, and structures our experience.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Laurie Talbot

    I found this book to be more helpful for me than the regular Boundaries book. I realized in my parenting that I was protecting my children from natural consequences for their behavior...and how doing this really is doing my children a disservice (but while I was doing it I thought I was being loving)! It was an EXTREMELY HELPFUL PARENTING book and in a world with an "entitlement" mentality, it is a MUST READ!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    I cringe at religious jargon, but I thought this book was worth a read. When I was able to overlook some of the language, I found myself using some of the information in daily conversation with my daughter. Some of what the authors proposed I had a hard time with (intrinsic motivation develops out of extrinsic motivation, for example), but it was a helpful book and worth reading. The line I have used most is, "You are responsible FOR yourself, and you are responsible TO others." My child feels r I cringe at religious jargon, but I thought this book was worth a read. When I was able to overlook some of the language, I found myself using some of the information in daily conversation with my daughter. Some of what the authors proposed I had a hard time with (intrinsic motivation develops out of extrinsic motivation, for example), but it was a helpful book and worth reading. The line I have used most is, "You are responsible FOR yourself, and you are responsible TO others." My child feels responsibility for others often, and helping her realize that she helps them most by helping them take responsibility for themselves and being a good friend to them as they do so is going to be one of my most important jobs in the next few years.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    This is an excellent parenting book. It was highly recommended by a mentor and it did not disappoint. The summary of this book could be: How to begin with the end in mind, the end result being a child who becomes an adult who can deal with the world's realities in a healthy and mature way. I most was challenged by the chapter on character growth, and many of the other chapters reminded me of the "tough love" concept in a lot of Jim Dobson's books. Loving with boundaries means consistency in paren This is an excellent parenting book. It was highly recommended by a mentor and it did not disappoint. The summary of this book could be: How to begin with the end in mind, the end result being a child who becomes an adult who can deal with the world's realities in a healthy and mature way. I most was challenged by the chapter on character growth, and many of the other chapters reminded me of the "tough love" concept in a lot of Jim Dobson's books. Loving with boundaries means consistency in parenting, allowing consequences, modeling personal responsibility, and moving a child from self-centeredness to gratitude, motivation, initiation (instead of passiveness) and much more. I was overwhelmed by the amount of growth that needs to happen in a child during their journey to adulthood, but there is a lot of encouragement from the authors and a heavy emphasis on love and the end result being worth it. I would recommend this for parents of elementary age children through the pre-teen years.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    An avid fan of the original text "Boundaries," I was perhaps, overly optimistic about this book. It is excellent but not a huge leap from the original. While the context of boundaries in raising kids is very helpful it is fairly generic. Much of the book seemed to be aimed at children who are at least school aged which is helpful only if you have not established solid boundaries before that time - in which case the original book would probably suffice. I was hopeful for something more "preventat An avid fan of the original text "Boundaries," I was perhaps, overly optimistic about this book. It is excellent but not a huge leap from the original. While the context of boundaries in raising kids is very helpful it is fairly generic. Much of the book seemed to be aimed at children who are at least school aged which is helpful only if you have not established solid boundaries before that time - in which case the original book would probably suffice. I was hopeful for something more "preventative" to be used with toddlers and pre-schoolers and found this to be only mildly useful in that regard. The points are excellent, the rationale sound and overall a good book - just not necessary to round out my shelf.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Camille K.

    This book is better than the original. There is less straining to prove the metaphor of boundaries as Scriptural and more practical ideas and scripts. I like the scripts a lot. I think the metaphor of "boundaries" is a good one. It's much less combative than the weird twist that some give of "shepherding" and "control." This is assertive, not aggressive or passive aggressive.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Becca Garber

    Full of wisdom, but dense. Best slowly digested over time. The book left me grateful that I was raised with clear boundaries (I knew when to say yes and no, what was right and wrong, and felt in control of my life), and I am inspired to continue to pass on structure, expectations, and the peace that comes from them to my children. That's the goal, anyway! ;)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Esther Nevener

    This book was very similar to "Parenting with love and logic". I really like the approach to parenting of these two books. Cloud talks a lot about giving your child the responsibility that should be theirs, letting them learn from natural consequences, and teaching them how to hold healthy boundaries as they grow into adults. This book had a lot of examples and practical advice (as opposed to some parenting books that are more of a general mindset for approaching parenting). I found this book gr This book was very similar to "Parenting with love and logic". I really like the approach to parenting of these two books. Cloud talks a lot about giving your child the responsibility that should be theirs, letting them learn from natural consequences, and teaching them how to hold healthy boundaries as they grow into adults. This book had a lot of examples and practical advice (as opposed to some parenting books that are more of a general mindset for approaching parenting). I found this book great when it comes to the information provided however it was really dry. I could see myself using this as a reference book in the future as I hit different challenges in parenting.

  12. 5 out of 5

    John

    This is an excellent book on parenting. The idea in the book is to allow and encourage children to freely make their own choices, while at the same time having clear boundaries and consequences for when the children make the wrong choice. The goal is to produce young adults that make good choices for themselves. If children are "forced" to comply at an early age, then they will likely not make wise choices once their parents can no longer force compliance on them. I was able to use a lot of the a This is an excellent book on parenting. The idea in the book is to allow and encourage children to freely make their own choices, while at the same time having clear boundaries and consequences for when the children make the wrong choice. The goal is to produce young adults that make good choices for themselves. If children are "forced" to comply at an early age, then they will likely not make wise choices once their parents can no longer force compliance on them. I was able to use a lot of the advice of this book right away. I also enjoyed that much of the advice only required small changes to my parenting. A problem I've witnessed with a lot of parenting books is that they don't have much to offer unless you implement the very strange and different parenting style that the book is encouraging. While this book did have some advice along those lines (which I may or may not implement), I was able to glean a lot of good advice from the book without completely changing my parenting style.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Clare Cannon

    A wonderful book for parents of young kids, helping you focus on the adults you want them to become (without making them grow up too soon). It helps you identify the character qualities they could learn now - while it's easier - to help them be fulfilled and happy later on, good habits they can already establish in areas like responsibility, respect, motivation, proactivity etc. And as well as helping you help your kids, it makes you a better person and a better parent too. I think you really ca A wonderful book for parents of young kids, helping you focus on the adults you want them to become (without making them grow up too soon). It helps you identify the character qualities they could learn now - while it's easier - to help them be fulfilled and happy later on, good habits they can already establish in areas like responsibility, respect, motivation, proactivity etc. And as well as helping you help your kids, it makes you a better person and a better parent too. I think you really can't start this too soon! www.GoodReadingGuide.com

  14. 5 out of 5

    Veronica

    Having read many books on parenting, I found Boundaries with Kids refreshing. Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend teach practical techniques for allowing a child to experience the consequences of his actions and decide for himself if those actions were worth the consequences, which is really how real life works. Even though I have found the things I learned in this book to work well, I haven't found it to be easy, nor is that promised in the book. In fact, it is very hard work, as the authors point out, t Having read many books on parenting, I found Boundaries with Kids refreshing. Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend teach practical techniques for allowing a child to experience the consequences of his actions and decide for himself if those actions were worth the consequences, which is really how real life works. Even though I have found the things I learned in this book to work well, I haven't found it to be easy, nor is that promised in the book. In fact, it is very hard work, as the authors point out, to hold the limit and not give in, but very worth it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This is a book that is great to keep referring back to. With teenagers, every day can present a new challenge. It is helpful to know that the kid in your home really isn't from another planet. Instead they are very normal. The best part is the emphasis on natural consequences, and also how to set up consequences that fit the crime. It is from a christian perspective, but, would certainly benefit anyone who reads it, in their parenting skills.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roni

    Every parent should read this book! "Parenting is a temporary job. You will always have that heritage, but you won't always have that responsibility." "One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is to help build in her a tendency toward activity. To be active is to take initiative, to make the first move. A child needs to understand that the solution to her problems and the answer to her needs always begins not with someone else, but with her."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne

    It's always hard to say "no" to your sweet little one. After all, you want them to be happy and content. But, allow your child to feel the consequences of their own behavior and to understand that boundaries do exist is really the only way to prepare him to become an independent, happy child and then adult. This is a great book to use for guidelines in discipline.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dianne

    Great book for parents to read and learn from to make better choices with the goal of raising their kids successfully. I read this while rasing my girls, and I give this book alot of credit toward how well my girls grew up to be independent, young ladies. Easy reading and it makes so much sense. You'll wonder why you didn't read it sooner.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Miss Rachael

    sounds good so far. Just through the introduction. Hoping the writing is less pretentious than the original. These are the things we read because we know they're right and help us get to where He can change us.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Such good information. I already want to re-read it. Much easier to read than it will be to implement, I'm sure, but boundaries are so necessary in all areas of life. Great practical examples and how not to respond types of scenarios in the book too.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jacques Bezuidenhout

    #TheMoreYouKnow Like with most things in life, there is no perfect recipe or step by step guide. Especially when it comes to raising kids. But the more informed you are about things that work for other people, you can apply bits of it and see how it works for you. There is a lot to gain from this book, and although some things are seemingly obvious, I think one can easily regress and do things totally wrong. So it serves as a good reminder. The book is very religiously orientated. But you can still #TheMoreYouKnow Like with most things in life, there is no perfect recipe or step by step guide. Especially when it comes to raising kids. But the more informed you are about things that work for other people, you can apply bits of it and see how it works for you. There is a lot to gain from this book, and although some things are seemingly obvious, I think one can easily regress and do things totally wrong. So it serves as a good reminder. The book is very religiously orientated. But you can still get useful titbits out if you are less so inclined.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brittany LeSueur

    I devoured this book. I loved the ideas on boundaries and taking ownership of ourselves. I feel more empowered as a parent to help my children take better control of their lives and to do the same myself. I’m anxious to read more books from Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Edwards

    This book is excellent. Highly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Great perspective and principles in this book. I enjoyed the biblical affirmations to support the principles discussed. Now I can't wait to the other "Boundaries" book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    THIS BOOK! Read this book. Parents especially but anyone who interacts with children— you need this ASAP.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    I have literally been reading this book for a year. It has never taken me this long to finish a book but I need to make myself understood. It wasn't the context of the book. I gave it 5 stars and it's worth every one. It took me so long because if I got out of it for a bit it was hard for me to get reacquainted with the subject. Now that I have explained, I can get onto my review which will have nothing but praise for the book. Several years ago I read Cloud and Townsend's book Boundaries and tha I have literally been reading this book for a year. It has never taken me this long to finish a book but I need to make myself understood. It wasn't the context of the book. I gave it 5 stars and it's worth every one. It took me so long because if I got out of it for a bit it was hard for me to get reacquainted with the subject. Now that I have explained, I can get onto my review which will have nothing but praise for the book. Several years ago I read Cloud and Townsend's book Boundaries and that was a life-changing book. This follow up is no exception. It helped to have read that book first so I had some knowledge going into this one. It is not necessary to read that one though. This book is great. The authors go into great detail about why boundaries are so important not only in our children but in ourselves. In fact boundaries start with us. If we don't have them we cannot expect our children to have them either. The authors go to great lengths to not only identify the boundary issues children of all ages will deal with but they give powerful suggestions on how to combat the difficulties in your child. You don't have to have a problem child to instill boundaries in your child. I have been able to implement boundaries in my own daughter with positive results. The biggest take away from this book is that life is all about choices. Parents set the limits and the consequences but it's the child that chooses what they will do. Parents can be objective and not angry. By being more of a facilitator instead of a warden it takes the emotion out of boundary setting. This concept makes reading this book paramount in child development. I believe this to be an essential read for every parent.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Murch

    Parenting happens. The question is whether or not you are going to set a context in your home where it happens on purpose. If so, Boundaries with Kids is a great resource. Based on the major principles of their best-seller 'Boundaries,' this book contextualizes and fleshes out their teaching in a parenting context. It is fairly idiot-proof. They spell out the details of every principle with first-hand stories, instances from their counseling practices, and age-appropriate suggestions. From toddle Parenting happens. The question is whether or not you are going to set a context in your home where it happens on purpose. If so, Boundaries with Kids is a great resource. Based on the major principles of their best-seller 'Boundaries,' this book contextualizes and fleshes out their teaching in a parenting context. It is fairly idiot-proof. They spell out the details of every principle with first-hand stories, instances from their counseling practices, and age-appropriate suggestions. From toddlers through late-teens, this book will help you contextualize healthy principles and practices as a parent. I know there is a strong need for a book like this. Personally, I feel like most of what they suggest can be chalked up to what traditional-minded people call 'common sense.' Sadly, common sense is sorely lacking in our culture today, which makes a book like this valuable. I'd highly recommend this text for parents who are looking for clarity on the responsibility they have been given, or for those dealing with a particularly issue at home.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Baird

    I loved the regular Boundaries book. It profoundly changed my life. So I picked up this book because the kid chapter in the main boundaries book was so good. This book just goes into more detail of how this plays out with different scenarios encountered with kids. It has really helped us in our household to parent in a way that is training our kids how to make good choices and owning the consequences of what they choose. It is similar to Parenting with Love and Logic and Loving Your Kids on Purp I loved the regular Boundaries book. It profoundly changed my life. So I picked up this book because the kid chapter in the main boundaries book was so good. This book just goes into more detail of how this plays out with different scenarios encountered with kids. It has really helped us in our household to parent in a way that is training our kids how to make good choices and owning the consequences of what they choose. It is similar to Parenting with Love and Logic and Loving Your Kids on Purpose. I am keeping this out on my nightstand and referring to it often. It was a lifesaver when my 12/13 year old hit the make me stage and my old parenting methods no longer worked. Boundaries just makes sense. Our house is more peaceful because of it and I feel like my kids are learning to live the phrase, "I can't control how people act, but I can control how I respond." Wish I learned these lessons as a kid but so grateful to know them now both for myself and raising my own kids.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Erica

    Every parent should read this book. I read this as part of a mom's group, so we read and discussed each chapter, and I got more out of this book in terms of parenting than I've gotten out of any other parenting book I've ever read. This book was simple, practical, and full of helpful information. This book has literally changed the way I interact with my kids and I can see improvement in them. The authors are Christian and they take basic Biblical truths and apply them to the role of parent, and Every parent should read this book. I read this as part of a mom's group, so we read and discussed each chapter, and I got more out of this book in terms of parenting than I've gotten out of any other parenting book I've ever read. This book was simple, practical, and full of helpful information. This book has literally changed the way I interact with my kids and I can see improvement in them. The authors are Christian and they take basic Biblical truths and apply them to the role of parent, and it just makes sense. Every chapter in my book is underlined, highlighted, and starred and this is a book I will be referring to often as my children grow up. I am serious, if you have kids, go get this book. If all parents understood these basic truths and how to get their kids to understand those truths also, this world would be a better place. I cannot say enough good things about this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I have read many books on children and parenting, and many of them them have been very helpful. But this is the most helpful book on parenting that I have read so far. I'm sure I will be reading it again, and referring back to it often. I read the book "Boundaries" by the same authors about a year ago, and it was life-changing. And now this book has changed me again. I'm so grateful for these books. The authors are Christian and write from a biblical perspective, using scriptures and a Christian I have read many books on children and parenting, and many of them them have been very helpful. But this is the most helpful book on parenting that I have read so far. I'm sure I will be reading it again, and referring back to it often. I read the book "Boundaries" by the same authors about a year ago, and it was life-changing. And now this book has changed me again. I'm so grateful for these books. The authors are Christian and write from a biblical perspective, using scriptures and a Christian perspective and framework. They also draw from their experiences as parents and as therapists. Both books have helped me to see critical changes I have needed to make in all of my relationships, and have shown me how to help my children be more functional, successful, and happy in their relationships and their lives.

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