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Topic : Setting Boundaries

Number of Replies: 344
New Messages This Week: 0
Last Reply On:
Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 01:21:13 pm
Author : dataimport
It's important to set healthy boundaries for and with your teen. Share your strategies.

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November 17, 2005, 11:00 am CST

Nip it in the bud now!

Quote From: nalysse

I have a fifteen year old daughter. She has been living with her dad for a year. I have been very sad about it. Unfortunately, it was my idea. My daughter's dad filed bankruptcy, played my daughter against me, and now he doesn't pay me child support anymore. I've tried everything to get my daughter to listen to reason, but she is still siding with her dad. Her dad made my life with my daughter so miserable. He told me that if Nicole called him screaming and crying again, he would come to my house and get her. The sad thing is she knew she could get his support. He doesn't like me and he wants my daughter to hate me too. I have tried and tried to get my daughter help. Counseling was a dead end. She wouldn't go. Pleading with her to see me once or twice a week hasn't worked. Going to a lawyer and making her be with me will only cause more conflict between us. I'm at the end of my rope. I want her to see me, but not if she is going to come home and treat me like crap. The waiting game is driving me crazy. Any advice?
I had this problem with my ex-husband.  he is an attorney and said that my daughter was 14 and could make her own decision about where to live.  I told her that if she wanted to live with her Dad I would fight for her.  She liked being there because she could do anything she wanted.  My ex fought me constantly, played her against me and basically put her in the middle.  What he really wanted was not to pay child support.  though my daughter remained with me, he was always manipulating her and causing emotional stress. Ibelieve this led to bad choices, confusion, and etc. which ultimately led to her death in a car accident.  Do not let this happen to you.  She needs stability in  her life and so do you and the ex.  You have to find a way to both spend time with her and make her feel loved and appreciated, not like a pawn in a chess game.  I know it is difficult but it is too important not to keep trying.
 
November 17, 2005, 2:02 pm CST

Make it easy on yourself.....

Quote From: pwilt65

Dear Dr. Phil,

I am a 2yrs. divorced dad with 3 children, 15, 13, 11. I share custody with their mom 50/50. My fiancee is also divorced, approx 4yrs., but apart about 10yrs, and also shares custody with the dad 50/50. My fiancee's daughter is 18 yrs. old, and also hates me. My fiancee and I recently moved in together. The week before we moved in together, father's day weekend, the 18yr. old was kicked out of her dad's house for irreverant behavior. Well, after nearly 3yrs. of tension and the passed several weeks of living together all heck hit the fan one night. I was forcefully explaining to the young lady that my 11yr. old daughter was feeling intimidated by her. She blasted me with the following; " I don't like you because I have no respect for you, never have and never will. You're a f____ing a__hole and a f____ing d__k! " This was said to me in front of 2 of my children, the 13yr. old and the 11yr. old, as well as her 14yr. old brother and her mother, my fiancee. I blasted her back that she had a nerve not respecting me when she hasn't yet even accomplished anything in her young life, not even completing the 11th grade ( she had to repeat her junior year ). Moreover I hollered, how dare she use language like that towards me, and in front of my children. Even my fiancee was getting into it now, but directing her anger at me. My fiancee never said a disapproving word to her daughter. As the yelling continued I said to the daughter then just GO! Again, this was in front of everyone. It was not a pretty sight. Now my ex-wife doesn't want my kids around my fiancee and is threatening to file for full custody. Likewise, my fiancee's ex is threatening to do the same. My kids do still want to see the both of us, but my wife won't allow it, at least for now. Her daughter wants no part of me, while her son wants less contact with me and my family. Prior to the incident, he had a good relationship with my children and an excellent one with me. My fiancee and I owned up to our bad behavior and apologized to all, but the daughter said she wishes I was dead and she'd say the very same things all over again. How do we ever repair this? We love each other, built a new house for us and the kids, and we waited 2 yrs. for her daughter to graduate before moving in together. We don't want to split up, but don't want to lose our kids either.

Please respond. We desperately need your advice.

 Why don't you just concentrate on raising your own children and start dating when the youngest turns eighteen.  That way you are in total control of what goes on in your home and how it affects your children.  It will be the safest place for your kids to be.  And the added bonus will be that they won't have to compete for your love with your fiancee or her kids.
You have three kids.... it's not ALL about YOU anymore.
 Just a thought...
 
November 17, 2005, 8:15 pm CST

Grandparents overstepping their boundries

I am a stay at home mom. I am 36 and my husband and I have a wonderful 1 year old son. We have been living in Europe for 7 years but when we found out we were having a baby we moved into the same city as my father and step-mother as we have been told by everyone we know that it is good to be close to family as you need all the help you can get-especially in the first year. Well, we took the help that they offered. Mainly watching the baby overnight once a week and now we feel that we are not able to set any boundries. We would love for them to be very close but now it seems that they feel like they are the parents. It is all a bit spooky how blurred the line between parent and grandparent is. It is blatent that they do not respect us or our opinions. It feels as if my step-mother, who is only 47, is regretting the fact that she did not have any children of her own. I tell them that I dont want the baby watching tv and the tv is always on. I dont want him going to eat happy meals yet and I am met with constant resistance. I didnt want them smoking in our house...and I just found out that one of them did. The latest is that they want to have a professional portrait done of the 3 of them and they want to send them out as their xmas cards. I said I thought it was strange and I was told that they would get the picture done whether I liked it or not. Religion is another HUGE problem. I think my stepmom feels it is her personal job to "save my sons soul" ...even though we had him baptised catholic...in Rome. Im so tired of the constant negativity to us, what we think and how we live our lives. She actually tells my son to please not be gay because God won't love him. What is that about!!! My husband and I are very happy people and dont believe in judging anyone and our goal for our son is to be a happy, healthy, well rounded and empathetic adult. We are starting to feel like our family is under attack. I try to speak to them about how I feel but they dont believe they need to speak to me about anything and pretend there is nothing wrong. I dont like getting the silent treatment in my own house, especially when I havent done anything. How do we begin to set boundries without ailenating the grandparents and keeping them in our babys life?
 
November 19, 2005, 6:34 pm CST

my prayers are with you ...

Quote From: maryannpar

I had this problem with my ex-husband.  he is an attorney and said that my daughter was 14 and could make her own decision about where to live.  I told her that if she wanted to live with her Dad I would fight for her.  She liked being there because she could do anything she wanted.  My ex fought me constantly, played her against me and basically put her in the middle.  What he really wanted was not to pay child support.  though my daughter remained with me, he was always manipulating her and causing emotional stress. Ibelieve this led to bad choices, confusion, and etc. which ultimately led to her death in a car accident.  Do not let this happen to you.  She needs stability in  her life and so do you and the ex.  You have to find a way to both spend time with her and make her feel loved and appreciated, not like a pawn in a chess game.  I know it is difficult but it is too important not to keep trying.

When I left this message, I never thought I would hear such devastating news. I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like there is a lot of unresolved hurt. I don't know what to say. I haven't walked in your shoes. Although I know that you are right, as far as the child support issues go, please don't blame your x for the death of your child. This is so devastating.  

  

My prayers are with you as you deal with such a sad situation.  Thank you for your response. I will definitely keep my daughter close to my heart so that she doesn't make choices that will cost her dearly.  

 
November 19, 2005, 6:43 pm CST

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: samanthab

I am a stay at home mom. I am 36 and my husband and I have a wonderful 1 year old son. We have been living in Europe for 7 years but when we found out we were having a baby we moved into the same city as my father and step-mother as we have been told by everyone we know that it is good to be close to family as you need all the help you can get-especially in the first year. Well, we took the help that they offered. Mainly watching the baby overnight once a week and now we feel that we are not able to set any boundries. We would love for them to be very close but now it seems that they feel like they are the parents. It is all a bit spooky how blurred the line between parent and grandparent is. It is blatent that they do not respect us or our opinions. It feels as if my step-mother, who is only 47, is regretting the fact that she did not have any children of her own. I tell them that I dont want the baby watching tv and the tv is always on. I dont want him going to eat happy meals yet and I am met with constant resistance. I didnt want them smoking in our house...and I just found out that one of them did. The latest is that they want to have a professional portrait done of the 3 of them and they want to send them out as their xmas cards. I said I thought it was strange and I was told that they would get the picture done whether I liked it or not. Religion is another HUGE problem. I think my stepmom feels it is her personal job to "save my sons soul" ...even though we had him baptised catholic...in Rome. Im so tired of the constant negativity to us, what we think and how we live our lives. She actually tells my son to please not be gay because God won't love him. What is that about!!! My husband and I are very happy people and dont believe in judging anyone and our goal for our son is to be a happy, healthy, well rounded and empathetic adult. We are starting to feel like our family is under attack. I try to speak to them about how I feel but they dont believe they need to speak to me about anything and pretend there is nothing wrong. I dont like getting the silent treatment in my own house, especially when I havent done anything. How do we begin to set boundries without ailenating the grandparents and keeping them in our babys life?

A new child is so life changing. Don't be too hard on everyone involved. They are just as amazed by the life change as you are. I don't think they are trying to be hurtful. I just think they are doing all that they know to do. At the same time, I think it is important for you to set the boundaries in your child's life. Don't make your child feel like his grandparents are wrong, just let the grandparents know that you are the parents. This is a difficult time. Try to find a fine line between love and security for your child.  

  

  

 
November 25, 2005, 3:32 pm CST

Setting Boundaries

Quote From: anon81974

 Why don't you just concentrate on raising your own children and start dating when the youngest turns eighteen.  That way you are in total control of what goes on in your home and how it affects your children.  It will be the safest place for your kids to be.  And the added bonus will be that they won't have to compete for your love with your fiancee or her kids.
You have three kids.... it's not ALL about YOU anymore.
 Just a thought...
Children are so complex -- at any age. When you add in ex-husbands and ex-wives -- watch out!  The most important thing is to understand that children ages 0 to 25 are just reacting to their upbringing. They are struggling to understand what it takes to make a relationship work. Based on my own experiences, children and adult children seem to act out violently because they feel cheated from having a real family life. How do we even know, as parents, what a real life for our children looks like anymore?  We live in a society that shrugs off real commitment!  I'm dealing with enough just having to deal with my teens emotions. I'm dealing with even more than that when you factor in her dad. He doesn't even parent with me much less believe in commitment! Can you only imagine what happens when each parent gets married and tries to make a life with someone else?!  As hard as it is, the main focus has to remain on the children/adult children -- to a degee of course. In other words,  when the children are really small, you have a chance in heck of helping them know how loved they are, but when the children are older, I believe, you reach the point of no return. At that point, older children have to face the music. How on earth do you try to love, and at the same time, try to make the older child understand that parents have needs too? This is something that is only taught through life's lessons. This is something older children will understand once they have their own children. I guess what I'm saying is that adults have to be more mature than the children. As obvious as this sounds, sometimes it is just too hard to do.  It is so difficult, as adults, not to be dragged in to our children's hearts. We want them to be happy. We want them to feel loved. How on earth do we, as parents, do that when we ourselves are trying to move on with our own lives? How do we make our children, who only wanted a simple life, understand that we only want the permission to move on and make their lives happier?  Ultimatley, I hope you and your significant other are able to do this with grace and with love for your children.
 
November 28, 2005, 5:03 am CST

family contract

Quote From: sandyfred

Dr. Phil talks a lot about Family Contracts on his show.  Does anyone have a template or sample.  I would like to write one for my family. 

  

  

There is one on this website, under teens, keep looking
 
December 5, 2005, 6:34 am CST

Step-Father in crisis...

I am a step-father and find myself backed into a corner between my wife and her 14 year old daughter.  No matter what I try to do or say, regardless of intent or good will, my every word and action are looked at with suspicion, and often with hostility, by both of them.  I am continually accused of being emotionally "mean" to the daughter because my comments are always taken as "critical".   However, if I don't say anything to her daughter at all in order to avoid those very problems, I get blasted for ignoring her daughter and not showing her love and respect.

  

I'm screwed! 

  

We also have a son between us who is 19 months old.  I often feel as if my wife is holding him hostage in order to force me to comply with what she wants, and how she wants me to treat her daughter.  Can you say "resentment"?  My wife refuses to attend family counseling to work out these issues, stating that she knows that she is partly to blame, but doesn't intend to change her behavior. 

  

OK, so now I'm screwed x 2! 

  

I have tried to research these kinds of problems on the web and have sent her articles on how important step-fathers are, and what some of the major problems are in step-families, all in the hopes of educating each other on the difficulties and dynamics of blended families.  I’m not sure if she is willing to even try…  As one article I recently read described "... for a stepfamily to work, the stepdad must have the respect of his spouse and stepchild.  Without this, stepdads always becomes the odd man out".  This is how I feel I am treated. 

  

I do not know how to turn this ship around, but above all, I do not want our family to become just another negative statistic.  We have no other major issues in our husband-wife relationship, and very few minor ones.  We are very compatible in many, many ways, and our morals and beliefs are identical.  We do not smoke, drink, party, or anything else that could cause problems in a marriage.  We are both home every night and on the weekends, we go out and do things together as a family regularly, and together we are able to provide well for our combined family.  And yet despite all this, we are on the verge of disaster. 

  

I'm afraid that if we can not overcome this issue, it will lead to divorce.  I do not want that... not again. 

  

  

Help! 

  

A loving husband and step-father, 

  

David 

 
December 5, 2005, 10:00 am CST

A long overdue follow up...

Hello again, 

  

Well, you won't believe this, but here goes. I am the gent who wrote about the disrespectful 18yrold daughter of my former fiancee. :( She was the young lady I asked to leave my home back in Jul. After some very hard days my fiancee & I realized we wanted to be together, and that her daughter was just fine with her dad. After some difficult months with dad, the daughter once again wanted to come back to our home. I asked to speak with her 1st to go over things. She said she couldn't do it after all, and went back to dads. After a couple more weeks the subject of her moving back in came up again. Again she and I spoke and it seemed like we figured it out. She came back, and although she was trying a little more, she started ignoring me again, not even saying hello, etc. I began reminding her about cleaning up after herself, shutting off lights, etc, and things got tense in the home once again. I tried giving her a hug and explained how I wasn't picking on her, just asking her to do what I ask of all the other children. Well the tension continued to build until mom & I were starting at each other. Thanksgiving dinner had only my x fiancee & I at the the table, but she started questionling me about whether or not I was happy, faking it, whether or not it was working out, etc. Could I tolerate things as they were? I said I would smile, but I wasn't happy that I couldn't talk to her daughter about my unhappiness. Things started to heat up, try as we may to calm them down. Finally, my X fiancee said to me out of the clear blue sky that her children were returning from their dads, and that if I raised my voice, which up until then I didn't think I did ( I am 6ft5in and I guess I have a booming voice anyway. I don't think I'm loud, but she says I am when I think I'm not anyway back to the story ) that she would call the police on me, take me down & the house with me! I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I sat quietly the rest of the evening in total shock!  On Sat she was asking if I wanted her & her daughter to leave, etc, and I stupidly said if I couldn't have a discussion with the daughter perhaps that would be best. I was scared anyway after her threat to call the police. Sat evening she announced to her kids that they were leaving. I didn't even know this as I continued to try to remedy things. Sun morning I went to church, and when I returned she told me what she told her children. I asked if I could speak to her daughter. After being put off for about an hour with 1 excuse after another, getting dressed, getting ready, still not dressed, etc, mom went in a couple of times to talk to the daughter. I assume it was to ask for an audience for me. So, I knocked on the door, opened it and asked if I could come in. The daughter launched into a tirade, ending up with guess what, another threat to call the police. The X talked her out of it, and even took the phone out of her hand. I hadn't done anything to warrant a response like that. She then said she was leaving voluntarily. This was all played out in front of my 3 kids and her brother. Not good! Of course my X was welcome to stay for as long as she liked, I hoped forever, but she told me she decided she would leave too, but only after finding something suitable. The X left for the day and returned that evening. She was talking with me, my 3 kids and playing with the dog. After about an hour she told me her daughter was coming back. I said that was a bad idea and asked why. I was told because that's where mom was and she did't want to go back to her dads. Upon returning to the home I immediately asked her if she had somewhere else to go, and that I didn't think it was a good idea. She lit into me once again, now only my 3 kids were present. She went around the house to ask who had a problem with her, and said it appeared my kids did not, and only I had a problem. When I asked her not to get my children involved she threatened to call the police on me, yet again for the 3rd time I was threatened with the police. Finally, I called the police. I explained that she was being disruptive & unruly in my home and asked that she be removed. Of course her mom decided she would follow. One of the officers was a friend of mine and asked increduously what had happend? When I explained he said if I thought they would actually call the police I did the only thing I could do, because as a man I would usually be removed from the house. Can you envision anything good coming out of this. Or, are we all better off that it's finally come to this and enough is enough. My kids have had it too. 

 
December 7, 2005, 6:15 am CST

I would like some advice to anyone with same experience...

I am really good about discipline etc and all that... but teenagers are a little different. 

  

I have a 15yr old... its below freezing out today.  She comes to vehicle to get in and has a tshirt and sweatshirt pullover over that... I said NO WAY... go get a coat on!!... she says her coats at grandmas... so I went in to find the coat... only ones I could find were two that are identical just different colors that I bought a year or two ago that "she dont like"... My husband is going to get her coat from grandmas this afternoon-evening.  So she will have it TOMORROW... so for one day wear a coat  that you do not like to keep warm... well she got in my face basically telling me "no I am NOT going to wear it" I said "yes you are" she said twitching her head back and forth from side to side in a RUDE manner... "NO I AM NOT".... well... what do you do?  Cant really MAKE her as she is my size.... so what do I do?  We are already starting to be late for school, got another child in van waiting to go... what do I do?? 

  

  

 
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