Parenting Tips on Kids & Technology

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Kids & Technology: Staying Safe

By Franklin County Children Services

Technology is a wonderful thing – if used responsibly, that is. To keep your kids safe, here are some parenting tips on using computers and cell phones wisely.


Be involved. Spend time online with your kids and get to know what websites they’re visiting. This will keep an open line of communication – not to mention you’ll learn a lot from your tech-savvy children! Another idea: consider installing filters to block inappropriate websites.

Teach boundaries. Kids should never reveal personal information about themselves online without your permission.

Cell Phones…

Safety first. Make sure your kids don’t give our their phone numbers to strangers. Also, make sure they never drive while talking or texting.

Teach responsible use. For a lesson in money management, have your kids keep track of their minutes and pay their bills each month to learn budgeting.  Responsible text messaging is another critical issue. Texting in class, at the dinner table or especially, while driving, is always a bad idea – as is sending obscene or inappropriate photos. This is an increasingly serious problem known as “sexting.”

When it Comes to Using Technology…

Establish rules for use and consequences for breaking them. Set time and place boundaries, for example: Absolutely no phone use during class or no Internet time until homework or chores are done.


If you would like more help in parenting, technology, &/or boundaries, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with one of our coaches or counselors.


Boundaries and Guardrails in Life

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Sometimes we can be confused about the rules and boundaries set up in our lives.  At times they can seem restraining and only hold us back from the fun we want to have by doing things our way and when we want.  Yet, often these boundaries are not fences to keep us away from fun but guardrails to keep us from pain and injury – emotional, physical, mental, relational, and/or spiritual.

If you would like help in establishing or understanding boundaries, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with a counselor or coach.

Are You the “Easy Mom?” How to Build Boundaries with Teens

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Are You the “Easy Mom?” How to Build Boundaries with Teens

By Dr. John Townsend

I (Dr. Townsend) remember overhearing my kids and their friends making plans to go to a movie. It was one of those last-minute decisions that teens often make. None of them were of driving age yet, so they were trying to solve that first obstacle.

boundaries teenOne boy, Ted, said, “How are we going to get there? The movie starts in fifteen minutes.” His friend said, “Call your mom; she’s easy.”

It was true. Ted’s mom, Andrea, is easy. She is a loving and easygoing person who also lets herself be taken advantage of by her teens. I have seen her interrupt plans that she has had in place for weeks in order to take her kids somewhere they decided to go at the last minute.

When I told Andrea that she was known as the “easy mom,” she realized that her kids needed to learn to plan ahead. Now when they ask her to do something for them at the last minute, she tells them, “Sorry, I wish you had told me earlier, but I’m doing something else. Good luck.”

Andrea does more than talk the talk; she walks the walk. She models the boundaries with teens that they need to develop, and she helps them experience the limits they need to face.

Andrea understands the bottom line of good parenting: teens will develop self-control and responsibility to the extent that their parents have healthy boundaries. When it comes to good parenting, who you are is more important than what you say.

All parents have at one time or another warned and threatened their teens with some consequence, only to let it go when they didn’t respond. But kids learn more from what they experience than from what they hear.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t teach and talk about boundaries with teens and house rules. They are very important. But those rules will hold little meaning unless you stand behind them and make them real. Your teen needs to internalize your boundaries. That is, she needs to make them part of her own internal world. She will learn a powerful lesson when she loses something she loves because of a choice she has made. The more teens experience the negative consequences of their poor choices, the more internal structure and self-control they will develop.

Every time your teen experiences your external structure, you are providing something for your teen that she cannot provide for herself. Each time you go through this process, she becomes a little more aware, a little less impulsive, a little more responsible, and a little more mindful that she will control what her future looks like.


10 Ways to Say “No”

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Some people have difficulty saying, “No.”  There may be a number of reasons, but the felt inability to say “no” will be boundary issue that will cause the person pain in the long run.

Other people could use more tact when saying, “No.”

Here are ten healthy ways to establish healthy boundaries when saying, “No.”

10 Ways to Say No

For more help with boundaries, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with one of our counselors or coaches.

External Resistance to Boundaries

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“Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.”
(Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, front flap, 1992).

boundariesExternal Resistance to Boundaries

Angry Reactions

“The most common resistance one gets from the outside is anger.  People who get angry at others for setting boundaries have a character problem.  Self-centered, they think the world exists for them and their comfort” (p 241).

First, you need to understand that it is the angry person who has the character fault, not the boundary setter.  Maintaining your boundaries will help the angry person learn to respect other people.  Second, if you stay separate from the person’s anger, not allowing yourself to get angry or giving up your boundaries, you will allow the other person to sit with their emotions rather than transfer their emotions onto you.  Third, you need to be prepared to use physical distance and other limiting factors as consequences to maintain your boundaries and ensure the angry person to learn to respect you and your boundaries.  “Sometimes, the hard truth is that they will not talk to you anymore, or they will leave the relationship if they can no longer control you” (p 243).  Even though this may be difficult, it may be the best long-term result.

Guilt Messages

People who say things intended to produce guilt are attempting to control you.  “They are trying to make you feel bad about deciding how you will spend your own time or resources, about growing up and separating from your parents, or about having a life separate” from them (p 244).

You can deal with these guilt messages by recognizing them as internal issues projected at you.  Limits and boundaries enable the other person to sit with their own anger, hurt, or sorrow.  If you notice the feeling of guilt arising, don’t blame them for “making you feel guilty”.  Once you start blaming them for “making you” feel a certain way you are giving them power over you.  Instead, recognize your internal emotional struggle, hold to your boundaries, and step back mentally to see how they are attempting to manipulate you emotionally and that you do not need to give them that power over you.  Also, do not explain or justify your boundaries to the one attempting to induce guilt – you do not owe them an explanation and if you offer one you fall into their guild trap.

Consequences and Countermoves

Sometimes people counter our boundaries with their own consequences in order to try to keep you under their control.  Be sure to count the cost and then consider if the cost is worth the loss of your “self”.  If you suffer loss, be proactive to make up for what you lose – this is one of the great reasons to ensure you have a healthy support group in your life.

Pain of Others

When we set boundaries, sometime other people feel hurt.  If you care for them, it can be difficult for you to watch; but it is important for you and them that you maintain your boundaries.  Sometimes those who hurt then blame you for the hurt – but you must remember that they are the ones with the character problem.  “Listen to the nature of other people’s complaints; if they are trying to blame you for something they should take responsibility for, confront them” (p 250).  In confronting them in a healthy way, you will learn how to not own the pain of another person and help that other person own and healthily deal with their own emotions and thoughts.


For more on establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

Myths About Boundaries

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“Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.”
(Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, front flap, 1992).

internal boundariesCommon Boundary Myths

  1. If I Set Boundaries, I’m Being Selfish

Selfishness is when we are fixated on our own wants or pleasures while ignoring or minimizing our care for others.  Establishing healthy boundaries comes from the recognition that we are responsible for our own lives and therefore need to ensure that we are healthy to properly care for others.  Boundaries enable us to say “no” to people and activities that are harmful to us or others so that we can properly steward our time, abilities, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors for the best care of others and ourselves.

  1. Boundaries are a Sign of Disobedience

Boundaries can be a sign of disobedience if we say “no” to good things for wrong reasons, but saying “no” in and of itself is not a sign of disobedience.  The ability to decline may be a healthy exercise of saying “no” to an unreasonable request or allowing room to say “yes” to a great thing by saying “no” to a good thing.

  1. If I Begin Setting Boundaries, I Will Be Hurt By Others

It is true that some, but not all, people will get angry, aggressive, or passive aggressive when we start using healthy boundaries.  “Boundaries are a ‘litmus test’ for the quality of our relationships.  Those…who can respect our boundaries will love our wills, our opinions, our separateness [even if they don’t agree with them].  Those who can’t respect our boundaries are telling us that they don’t love our no.  They only love our yes, our compliance” (p 108).

  1. If I Set Boundaries, I will Hurt Others

“Boundaries are a defensive tool.  Appropriate boundaries don’t control, attack, or hurt anyone” (p 110). Boundaries help protect us and they help others take responsibility for their lives while we take responsibility for our lives.

  1. Boundaries Mean That I Am Angry

Emotions are indicator lights.  Anger is an emotion and may indicate that we are perceiving a threat to our boundaries.  If anger isn’t dealt with properly, old angers from boundary crossing hurts can flare up when we think our newly established healthy boundaries are being threatened.  In this way, old hurts can be exposed and given the opportunity to be healed (as long as we don’t try to ignore them, excuse them, or bury them) through our setting up boundaries, thus eventually making us less angry people.

  1. When Others Set Boundaries, It Injures Me

It is true that inappropriate boundaries can injures us, but we must avoid projecting our hurts onto others’ intentions or feelings.  Feeling hurt from healthy boundaries can actually help expose areas that need help in our own hearts and maybe even a desire to avoid taking responsibility for our own lives or actions.

  1. Boundaries Cause Feelings of Guilt

Sometimes we have trouble establishing boundaries because of a misplaced feeling of obligation.  There are those who give us love, time, and money (or anything else that we tend to feel obligated for receiving) as a gift because they care for us.  A gift is something given freely, without strings, and does not need to be paid back.  The appropriate response to a gift is “thank you” and not guilt or obligation.

Boundaries: Types of Boundary Crossers

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“Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.”
(Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, front flap, 1992).

boundaries crossingWhen we think about those who cross boundaries we tend to think about those people who won’t take “no” for an answer or maybe don’t think about how they are imposing themselves upon others emotionally or verbally or even physically.

When we think about those who have trouble maintaining their own boundaries, we tend to think of those people who can’t seem to say “no”.

But these aren’t the only types of “boundary crossers”.  Here are a few categories of those who have boundary problems:

1. Compliants: Saying “Yes” to the Bad

Compliants tend to give into and go along with the needs and demands of others.  A hallmark illustration is pretending to like the same things as another person simply to “get along” and avoid conflict.  Compliants tend to be like chameleons, blending into their social surroundings so that you do not really know who they really are as an individual.  A dangerous pattern among compliants is the inability to say “no” to bad things and even not recognizing evil.  “Many compliant people realize too late that they’re in a dangerous or abusive relationship.  Their spiritual and emotional “radar” is broken” (p 51).  Often driving the inability to establish healthy boundaries is fear – usually irrational fear.

2. Avoidants: Saying “No” to the Good

Avoidants have the “inability to ask for help, to recognize one’s own needs, to let others in.  Avoidants withdraw when they are in need; they do not ask for the support of others” (p 52).  The main problem in regards to boundaries with avoidants is that they are hiding themselves not only from unhealthy situations but also from healthy and safe relationships – often when the need the latter the most.  Avoidants tend to see their struggles and wants as something shameful, thus self-justifying their hiding behind their walls from help.

3. Compliant Avoidants: Saying “Yes” to the Bad and “No” to the Good

“Compliant avoidants suffer from what is called ‘reversed boundaries’.  They have no boundaries where they need them, and they have boundaries where they shouldn’t have them” (p 53).

4. Controllers: Not Respecting Others’ Boundaries

“Controllers can’t respect others’ limits.  They resist taking responsibility for their own lives, so they need to control others…They tend to project responsibility for their lives onto others” (p 54).  These people are often seen as manipulative and bullies as they seek to get others to carry their responsibilities, burdens, and personal boundaries (see the previous post).  “If they’r honest, controllers rarely feel loved…Because in their heart of hearts, they know that the only reason people spend time with them is because they are pulling the strings” (p 57).

Aggressive controllers make it obvious that they do not and will not respect the boundaries of others – sometimes resorting to verbal or physical violence.  Manipulative controllers try to talk others out of keeping their boundaries and when confronted will often “deny their desires to control others…[and] brush aside their own self-centeredness” (p 55).

5. Nonresponsives: Not Hearing the Needs of Others

Nonresponsives demonstrate the inability to respond to the needs of others, within the context of healthy boundaries.  They tend to “have a critical spirit toward others’ needs” (due to a hatred of their own needs) and/or are “those who are so absorbed in their own desires and needs they exclude others (a form of narcissim)” (p 58).

6. Controlling Nonresponsives

These boundary crossers “see others as responsible for their struggles and are on the lookout for someone to take care of them.  They gravitate towards someone with blurry boundaries, who will naturally take on too many responsibilities in the relationship and won’t complain about it” (p 59).

7. Functional and Relational Boundary Issues

Functional boundaries refer to the ability to complete a task.  Relational boundaries refer to the ability to engage another person in an honest manner.  Some people can complete tasks quite well (functional) but cannot confront a friend about a bad habit (relational).  Others have the ability to engage others in healthy relationships but cannot seem to complete their daily duties in a proper fashion.


If you would like help in taking responsibility for your own boundary crossing &/or help in dealing with others who are crossing boundaries, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459.3003. 

Boundaries: What Falls Within Our Boundaries?

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“Boundaries are personal property lines that define who you are and who you are not, and influence all areas of your life.”
(Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, front flap, 1992).

internal boundariesOne of the big areas of learning healthy boundaries (besides establishing consequences that we will enforce if someone trespasses our personal boundaries) is learning and owning what falls within our boundaries.  In other words, we must take stock of what we are responsible for in regards to boundaries.

1. Feelings

Feelings are not to be dismissed, nor are feelings to rule our lives.  We need to be aware of our feelings and own our our feelings.  Awareness of feelings can help us pause and look at the thoughts driving our feelings. Feelings can also be a good gauge of the status of our relationships.  “But the point is, your feelings are your responsibility and you must own them and see them as your problem so you can begin to find an answer to whatever issue they are pointing to” (p 40).

2. Attitudes and Beliefs

“Attitudes have to do with your orientation toward something…Beliefs are anything that you accept as true” (p 40).  We often blame others for our attitudes, but we need to own them ourselves because we are the ones who feel the impact of our attitudes and beliefs and we are the ones who can change them.  “People with boundary problems usually have distorted attitudes about responsibility” (p 41). One such distortion is the belief that to hold others responsible for their own attitudes and beliefs is mean.

3. Behaviors

“Behaviors have consequences…To rescue people from the natural consequences of their behavior is to render them powerless” (p 41).  How we behave results in certain consequences – if we are loving towards others, we have closer relationships; if we are caustic towards others our relationships suffer.  We must own our own behaviors and not blame-shift responsibility for our actions onto others.

4. Choices

“We need to realize that we are in control of our choices no matter how we feel” (p 42).  To say that someone “made us” do something is to live in the illusion that we are not in control of our decisions.  Others may influence our choices, but ultimately we make the decisions and are the ones who must live with the consequences.  Establishing boundaries means owning our choices.

5. Values

“What we value is what we love and assign importance to” (p 43).  One big area where boundaries are crossed in the area of values is when we seek the approval of others, thus compromising our values, or when we value things that are temporary and don’t have a lasting value.  Boundaries help us to own our healthy values and see our harmful values so that the latter can be changed.

6. Limits

We can set limits on how much we expose ourselves to people who are behaving poorly (since we cannot make someone change).  For example, you can say, “You can be that way if you choose, but you cannot come into my house” (p 43).  We can also set internal limits that allow us to think, feel, and desire certain things without acting upon those impulses.  “Internal structure is a very important component of boundaries and identity, as well as ownership, responsibility, and self-control” (p 44).

7. Talents

Our particular talents are within our boundaries and are our responsibility to cultivate.

8. Thoughts

“We must own our own thoughts…We must grown in knowledge and expand our minds…We must clarify distorted thinking” (p 45).  Since our thoughts dictate our feelings, are our thoughts are often colored and distorted by past experiences and unhealthy patterns, we must learn to own our thoughts and challenge the reality of our thoughts.  Healthy thinking in relationships means taking the initiative to check to see if our thoughts may be wrong and then collect new information to readjust our thinking in line with reality.  Healthy boundaries in thinking also means that we should not expect others to read our minds nor assume that we can read the minds of others; rather, we work on healthy communication skills.

9. Desires

Our desires are within our personal boundary lines.  Often our desires are distortions or masks of what we are truly seeking – so we must do the hard work of digging deeper.  For example, some people follow destructive sexual desires because they do not realize that their true desire is love and affection – something their destructive actions will never give them in the long run.  Other times we desire something that we want but do not need resulting in disappointment, envy, or anger.  Owning our desires allows us to see what is healthy and what is unhealthy.

10. Love 

“Many people have difficulty giving and receiving love because of hurt and fear…Our loving heart, like our physical one, needs and inflow as well as an outflow of lifeblood...We need to take responsibility four this loving function of ourselves and use it.  Love concealed or love rejected can both kill us” (pp 47-48).


If you would like help in taking responsibility for your own internal boundaries &/or help in allowing others to take responsibility for their own internal boundaries, please call CornerStone Family Services at 614-459.3003. 


Setting Boundaries With Difficult People

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Setting Boundaries With Difficult People 

By IPFW/Parkview Student Assistance Program

Boundaries Defined

What exactly is a boundary, when it comes to relationships?  Simply put, a boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends.  Think of it as a fence in your backyard. You are the gate keeper and get to decide who you let in and who you keep out, who you let into the whole back yard, or who you let just inside the gate. You may still be keeping a distance, but you are giving them a chance to prove their trustworthiness both physically and emotionally. The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you.

Healthy boundaries do not always come naturally or easily. We learn to “be” in all kinds of relationships by modeling. In other words, by watching how others handle relationships. In early childhood, it is our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, and who ever else we were around on a regular basis. As we grow into adolescents, we rely less on parents and more on our friends to help us define ourselves and our boundaries or limits in relationships. If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, then chances are you have not learned how to set a boundary or even really know what it is. Learning to set our own healthy boundaries is an exercise in personal freedom. It means getting to know ourselves and increasing our awareness of where we stand and what we stand for. It means letting go of the unhealthy people in our lives so that we can grow into the healthy person that we were meant to be.

Poor Boundaries Defined

How do you know whether or not you are in an unhealthy relationship? Chances are, if you are in a dysfunctional relationship it will feel “normal” or even “comfortable” to you, if you grew up in a dysfunctional home. You may not recognize the signs, until you are well on your way to giving up your entire self for the other person. Below is a list of some of the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy boundaries.

Healthy Unhealthy
Feeling like your own person Feeling incomplete without your partner
Feeling responsible for your own happiness Relying on your partner for your happiness
Togetherness and separateness are balanced Too much or too little togetherness
Friendships exist outside of the relationship Inability to establish and maintain friendships with others
Focuses on the best qualities of both people Focuses on the worst qualities of the partners
Achieving intimacy without chemicals Using alcohol/drugs to reduce inhibitions and achieve a false sense of intimacy
Open, honest and assertive communication Game-playing, unwillingness to listen, manipulation
Commitment to the partner Jealousy, relationship addiction or lack of commitment
Respecting the differences in the partner Blaming the partner for his or her own unique qualities
Accepting changes in the relationship Feeling that the relationship should always be the same
Asking honestly for what is wanted Feeling unable to express what is wanted
Accepting endings Unable to let go


Identifying where we lack boundaries is half the battle, for we can not change what we do not recognize.

For more information on boundaries go to the Life Esteem Web site.

Setting Boundaries

To set boundaries, first we need to learn to communicate without blaming. In other words, stop saying things like: you make me so angry; you hurt me; you make me crazy; how could you do that to me after all I have done for you; etc. These are the very types of messages we got in childhood that have so warped our perspective on our own emotional process.  Instead use “I statements”: “I feel frustrated/angry when you ________ or when xyz happens”.

Along with good communication, is honesty. Learn to say how you feel. Beating around the bush will not help you or your relationship in the long run.

It is impossible to set boundaries without setting consequences. If you are setting boundaries in a relationship, and you are not yet at a point where you are ready to leave the relationship then don’t say that you will leave. Never state something that you are not willing to follow through with. To set boundaries and not enforce them just gives the other person an excuse to continue in the same old behavior. For example: “If you call me names I will confront you about your behavior each and every time and will share my feelings with you. I will not tolerate verbal abuse. If you continue this behavior, I will weigh my options, including leaving this relationship. I do not deserve this and I will not put up with it any longer”.

“If you continue to break your plans with me by not showing up or calling me at the last minute to cancel, I will confront you about this behavior and share my feelings. If this behavior continues, I will consider it to mean that you do not respect me or this relationship and I will have no contact with you for a month, until we can both evaluate and figure out our priorities. If I chose to get back in touch with you, and the behavior continues, we will no longer be in any type of relationship together”.

“When I ask you what is wrong, and you say “nothing”, but then proceed to slam doors or kick the wall, and seem to be angry, I feel angry or frustrated  that you refuse to communicate properly with me as if I am supposed to read your mind. If something is bothering you, I will trust you to let me know after you have spent some time cooling off alone. If you continue to punish me with your silence or fits, I will tell you how it makes me feel. If this behavior continues, I will weigh my options for this relationship. I do not deserve this type of behavior and will not put up with it any longer”.

Setting boundaries is not about making threats. It is about giving them choices and then consequences for the poor decisions they make, much like we do with our parenting skills. We cannot be in a healthy relationship without appropriate boundaries.


If you would like to learn more about setting, establishing, and/or maintaining healthy boundaries, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614.459.3003.

Boundaries Problem Chart

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Unhealthy boundaries cause interpersonal and intrapersonal problems.  Take a look at the chart below for a simple representation of some boundary problems.

Boundary Problems Chart

For more information on unhealthy boundaries and help establishing healthy boundaries, please contact CornerStone at 614-459-3003.