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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

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  1,834 Ratings  ·  167 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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Aug 05, 2014 Tammy rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessica Snell
Oct 25, 2011 Jessica Snell rated it really liked it
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
Jun 28, 2011 Kristy rated it really liked it
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
Feb 29, 2012 Allison rated it liked it
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
Apr 01, 2012 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-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
Jan 16, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
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
Laurie Talbot
Mar 06, 2013 Laurie Talbot rated it it was amazing
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!
Jul 05, 2012 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 09, 2011 Miss Rachael rated it liked it
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.
Mar 25, 2016 John rated it it was amazing
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
Nico N
Nov 19, 2014 Nico N rated it it was amazing
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
Clare Cannon
Jan 25, 2012 Clare Cannon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, adults
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 it was amazing
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.
Apr 23, 2011 ABC rated it liked it
Shelves: teens-and-adults
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.
Sep 25, 2009 Camille K. rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 11, 2012 Dianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: life-help-shelf
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.
Becca Garber
Feb 16, 2016 Becca Garber rated it really liked it
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! ;)
Feb 12, 2016 Heather rated it it was amazing
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.
Kazue Evans
Nov 04, 2016 Kazue Evans rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting, christian
The best parenting book I've ever read! Parenting is for your child(ren)'s future. The author says to his friend, who was cleaning her 14-year-old son's room. "I just feel sorry for [your son]'s future wife." Your child is a problem. S/he is not perfect. But the problem really is a problem of boundaries. The concept of the boundaries was beneficial not only for my child but myself.
Dec 16, 2016 Martha rated it it was amazing
I will definitely come back to this again and again while my children are growing and learning. Many good points to ponder. I thought I was doing better at boundaries than I really am. This made several things a lot clearer.
Nov 01, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it
Parts of this book were helpful and profound; parts felt repetitive and over-stated. I particularly enjoyed the concrete advice (rather than simply theoretical) and the plethora or scripture references and contexts for all the information provided.
Kris Morrissey
Jan 17, 2017 Kris Morrissey rated it it was amazing
One of the best parenting books I've read. I wish I would have read this when my kids were young - because I'm sure I would have gone back to it again and again for some good reinforcements.
Tasmin Brown
Jan 05, 2017 Tasmin Brown rated it did not like it
Shelves: outdoor-kids
way to much Jesus, couldn't finish it
Picked this up because it's the only audio book by Henry Cloud at my library and as an extension of the lessons from Active Parenting Now

The introduction details how this a book of how to love your children and provide an environment for them to be successful in life. Actions as parents ultimately help shape our children's character. Make sure constantly modeling good behavior and words.

Regardless of it's scripture heavy references the lessons about parenting are solid. The ultimate goal is to p
Jan 07, 2017 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geared towards older kids

Loved his anecdotes and practicality. However I was hoping for more specifics on setting boundaries/consequences starting at a younger age (toddlers to be specific)
Kate Tanis
Jan 04, 2017 Kate Tanis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: parenting
My favorite parenting book so far. Practical applications and can be adapted for all ages. Really geared at helping set your kids up for success. Helped me evaluate my boundaries as well.
Kayla Hewitt
Dec 28, 2016 Kayla Hewitt rated it really liked it
A lot of the advice in this book is fairly common-sense stuff about discipline. But, it's nice to be reminded of the importance of being consistent and staying the course even when it's difficult. I also really appreciated the reminder that it is totally normal and appropriate for kids to test boundaries. It is the parents' response to that testing that really makes the difference.
Jun 14, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-changers, 2016
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
This book includes great advice for setting limits for kids to help them grow into moral, responsible, thoughtful people. After I finished the book, I kept it around for a few weeks and flipped back to reread sections over again. I thought it was well organized, too, with suggestions around different types of troubling behavior grouped into chapters that escalate from basic limits to more complex concepts.

The one issue with this book that drops it from a five-star rating for me is all the unnece
Stephanie M.
Apr 18, 2016 Stephanie M. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Warning- this is a Christian based book that expresses ideas in a biblical manner. Having said that, I recommend this book for any struggling parent regardless of religious background. These are common sense principles that are merely backed up by biblical teachings- meaning the ideas could be from any religion, universal in a way.

A powerful read- as a non- Christian I was able to 'ignore' the heavy Biblical references and hold on to the exceptional advice.

As someone who is right in the thick of
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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
“The wise parent lets the child’s world teach him the lessons of life and then empathizes with his pain. Then he learns to respect the outside world’s limits as well as his parents” 2 likes
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