Ep. 76: Setting Better Boundaries
Linda Perlman Gordon, co-author of Mom, Can I Move Back In With You? and four other books sat down with me this week to explores techniques and strategies for parenting teens who are transitioning into ‘real’ adulthood. Linda, a private psychotherapist in the greater D.C. area, counsels parents of teens and twentysomethings–and is the perfect person to discuss how to make better boundaries with your maturing teen!
Full Show Notes
Your 22-year-old son calls you asking for help on his tax forms. Then your 21-year-old daughter asks you to call roadside assistance for a flat tire. What do you do? Do you help, or let them figure it out on their own? Different parents have different solutions, but they all have the same question: as teenagers turn into adults, when does “helping” turn into “coddling?”
The answer is becoming more and more blurred with each passing year. As an increasing number of teenagers go off to college and emerge as young adults with low-paying jobs, student loans, and grad school applications, the role of parenthood is extending past the teenage years and into early adulthood. Most “twentysomethings” still need Mom and Dad for financial and emotional support, but is that okay? Should your child be paying rent to live at home? Are they on the right track, or are they falling behind? It’s crucial for you to know the difference. Otherwise, you might be reinforcing seriously harmful habits and hindering your child’s independence!
To understand this concept, I had a wonderful interview with Linda Perlman Gordon, author of five books and private psychoanalyst. Her book—Mom, Can I Move Back In With You? A Survival Guide for Parents of Twentysomethings—explores techniques and strategies for parenting children who are transitioning into adulthood. Many parents find themselves in this situation without resources or research to help, but as it turns out, most parents are in the same boat! These are exactly the parents Linda works with in her private practice and in group sessions.
Gordon’s and co-author Susan Morris Shaffer’s work shows most parents feel awkward discussing their twentysomething “children,” when they really shouldn’t be! Modern times make it almost impossible for young adults to be completely independent post-college. Instead of looking at age as a benchmark for independence, it’s vital to look for signs of what Gordon calls “personal responsibility.” Yes, your child is twenty-four and living at home, but are they motivated? Are they looking for jobs, taking initiative, and moving toward a financially stable state? If so, you’ve nothing to worry about! If not, Goodman has some awesome advice on how to help your child take steps toward adult independence.
One of her best pieces of advice comes from setting boundaries. Without clear boundaries between you and your child, it’s easy to overstep your responsibilities as a parent..and for your almost-adult to take advantage. All parents want to help their children, but your child needs to experience at least a few mistakes and pitfalls to grow. Especially in their early adult years! In addition to age appropriate boundaries, Linda and I discuss:
- How adolescence has “aged” in years
- Fostering adult responsibility in your teen
- Why parents might want to think twice about charging ‘rent’
- Keeping in touch with your emerging adult
- The fine line between lending a hand and ‘coddling’/‘enabling’
You will always be your child’s parent, no matter how old they are. In modern times, your role may well expand past the traditional 18-years mark, and you need to be prepared to help your child make the transition into adulthood. And that’s all right! Listen in, and hear Linda Perlman Gordon explain exactly how to adjust parenting techniques for older teens and emerging adults!
The 23-minute public version is free to listen to, and the 44-minute extended version, packed with extra goodies, is reserved for site members. Log in or start a free trial to access everything our site has to offer!
Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen
1. When your teen is relying too much on you checking their work:
I think you’re a solid writer and I want you to feel secure enough to be able to send your stuff on and you know I always want to help you. But I’m not sure it’s helping you to have you feel like it’s not good enough unless my eyes are on it.
-Linda Perlman Gordon
2. What to say to remind your teen of your genuine pride in them:
About Linda Perlman Gordon
Linda Perlman Gordon is an author and psychotherapist with a private practice in the Washington., DC area. She specializes in family issues with an expertise in young adulthood, couples and individuals. She is the author or co-author of five books, including Mom, Can I Move Back in with You?, How to Connect With Your iTeen, Too Close for Comfort, Why Boys Don’t Talk and Why it Matters, and Why Girls Talk and What they’re Really Saying. Linda’s expertise has been featured on news sites like Today.com, The Washington Post, Psychology Today, and The Globe and Mail.
Linda is the proud mother of her own emerged adults. You can find her on LinkedIn.