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

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  1,419 ratings  ·  133 reviews
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?


Paperback, 223 pages
Published October 28th 2001 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published April 1st 1998)
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The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-JonesA Dad After God's Own Heart by Jim GeorgeShepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd TrippGrace Based Parenting by Tim KimmelBoundaries with Kids by Henry Cloud
Christian Parenting
5th out of 72 books — 82 voters
The New Strong-Willed Child by James C. DobsonThe Mission of Motherhood by Sally ClarksonYear of Little Lesson Plans by Courtney LoquastoThe Rhythm of Family by Amanda Blake SouleHeartfelt Discipline by Clay Clarkson
Top Books for Christian Mothers of Boys
105th out of 107 books — 15 voters

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Community Reviews

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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 ...more
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
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
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 ...more
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!
It would have been much better if it was more geared towards single parents without as much help, but had some great ideas. I had to take a class that taught with this book, but it was not the book that should have been chosen for single parents.
I'm sure it would be much more beneficial to someone who isn't a single parent without the ability to have family help.
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.
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.
Nico N
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
Jul 13, 2011 Debbie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents of teenagers, youth pastors
Shelves: read-again, essential
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.
The information in this book is stuff I sort of already know, but it is nice to read it and reinforce it. They go on and on about how kids without boundaries will grow up to be such and such (insecure, unable to form healthy relationships, etc.), but there is not a lot of practical advice.

It comes from a Christian point of view, and Bible verses and God references are peppered throughout the book.
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.
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.
This should be in every parent's bookshelf

I would recommend this book to everyone that works with children. The concepts are so simple, there are no complex formulas or chart systems. This book is about letting real life happen in your parenting.

This book not only opened my eyes to my parenting struggles but it also allowed me to see what I did not get to learn or experience in my childhood. As a result, I found that I needed to examine not just my parenting but also my general outlook on life a
Award-winning Boundaries authors have now adapted that material for anyone working with children. The book has practical tips on how to help your child instill boundaries and self-control in children and to maintain your boundaries as well.\n\n\nI thought this book was excellent. As I read it, the thought most often in my mind was of situations and scenarios in which I could apply what I was reading about. There were many areas both with my step-kids and the kids I teach that I could see mysel ...more
Sarah Jensen
This book helped me feel like I know what I'm doing as a parent. The main thing I learned from this book is that children need to be allowed to suffer because that is how they learn to live in the real world. I no longer feel guilty about the boundaries I've been wanting to set with my son and I no longer second guess myself. All my decisions in parenting are proactive rather than reactive. I have peace of mind knowing the reason I am responding the way that I am and I've stopped questioning mys ...more
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 ...more
Jessica Hollo
Amazing resource, I prefer the audio book so I can think as I read, but I think the workbook would be helpful to read after to really absorb the information as relevant to your personal situation. This book is biblically/Christian based, but provides a great lesson on boundaries for anyone. I appreciate the fact that it asks parents to get their things in order as an example to children first. then it moves on to basic principles such as ownership. Shall reminds that the earlier you start the be ...more
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
A year ago I began the search for the "perfect" parenting book. I bought and read Dobson's The Strong Willed Child, Kurchinka's Raising Your Spirited Child, and Tobias's You Can't Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded). These were all helpful in their own way, but none of them fulfilled my search the way Cloud and Townsend's Boundaries with Kids has. This book applies to the particular task of parenting the principles laid out in their book Boundaries, which was years ago recommended to me by a frien ...more
Karla Owen foisy
I read this book on the heels of reading Boundaries. This book doesn't have alot of additional information in it, but the wording is somewhat changed to address boundaries in a parenting context. I think, if this was the first book you read on healthy boundary-setting or on healthy parenting, this would be a life-changer. I, however already read Boundaries and Love and Logic and so much of what was included in this book was already addressed in those.
Denise (TeenBookLook)
Take aways --

"Sounds (seems) like you're having a bit of trouble, but I will wait to help you until you ask."

Adress issues that involve honesty, responsibility, caring and morality. Give more latitude within limits to hairstyle, music and room sloppiness.

"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 he
Amanda Himes
Excellent book--so helpful, especially regarding having empathy AND being firm on limits at the same time. One of many good points: that it is the parent's job to set the boundary and the child's job to resist it.

Four of Cloud's and Townsend's rules: 1. Don't let your child's pain control your actions; 2. Keep your pain separate from your child's; 3. Help your child see that life is not about avoiding pain but about making good pain an ally; 4. Make sure the pain is the pain of maturing, not th
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
Samantha Chew
Good advice

The majority of the information in this book is helpful and makes perfect sense. Most of it is backed by scripture as well. The concept is thoroughly explained, but I'd like to see a little more about implementing. It is implied that this is in the workbook.
I, like some other reviewers, am not a huge fan of the religious aspects of this book, however I was pleasantly surprised to find that they really are not a huge focus and the ones that are used are somewhat helpful.
I listened to this book and unfortunately it is not available in hard copy from my library. I may need to seek a hard copy out as my child gets older. I think there is a lot of useful wisdom here which can be applicable to various ages.
My favorite take-away from this book is knowin
Lots of good stuff, but I'll admit to skimming. I'm thankful that most of lit seemed like common sense, but since I don't live in my own little bubble and spend no little amount of time at the public playground, I know it that common sense isn't very common these days...
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Dr. Cloud has written or co-written twenty-five books, including the two million-seller Boundaries. His most recent books are Boundaries for Leaders and Necessary Endings. He has earned three Gold Medallion awards, and was awarded the distinguished Retailers Choice award for God Will Make A Way.

As president of Cloud-Townsend Resources, Dr. Cloud has produced and conducted hundreds of public semina
More about Henry Cloud...
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“If a person’s character makeup determines his future, then child rearing is primarily about helping children to develop character that will take them through life safely, securely, productively, and joyfully.” 2 likes
“Our kids aren’t an annuity for our retirement, social system, or medical frailty.” 0 likes
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