Feb 18

Parents of Struggling Kids: What Are You Tolerating?


What are you tolerating today?

As parents of troubled kids, it seems like we wind up tolerating a lot, right?  It could be anything from messy rooms, to drugs found in the house, to the milk left out to spoil, or argumentative language from our kids.  The list could be endless.  It might be anything really, anything that makes us even a little upset, anxious, feeling dissonance, or just plain wanting to get away from it.  If we are feeling any of those things, we might be tolerating something that isn’t quite right for us.  And that is worth examining.

As many of you know, I love quotes and often like to include one in my blog.  However when I went out to google search quotes about tolerating, I only was able to find quotes that promote tolerance, and it occurred to me that the meaning of ‘tolerating’ in those quotes is not really what I am talking about here.   So don’t get me wrong, I am all for tolerance of people and/or situations different from my own, be it race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.  That kind of tolerating is not my topic here!  (Just wanted to make that clear…)

What I am talking about is what we put up with on a regular basis that bugs us, irritates us, that if we could change, we would.  What are those things for you?

You might wonder why I am asking, why this is even worth mentioning.  Well, because it can be a good place to start, that’s why.  As you may know, I am all about helping the parents of struggling kids.  And I know for a fact that working on oneself when our kids are struggling winds up to be the best thing we can do for ourselves and our kids.  Oh what a beautiful thing that is!  I love the twofer, the double-whammy of it!  If you are tolerating something that isn’t the best for you, there is a really good chance it might not be good for others too.  Voila!

So I ask you, what are you tolerating?  I would love to hear it!  Please share in the comments section below.


Leslie Ferris is a Certified and Credentialed Parent and Life Coach

Serving the parents of struggling tweens, teens, and young adults

Contact her today for your 1/2 complimentary discussion to explore what life coaching can do for you.

Connect with her via her website at http://www.phase2foryou.com

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Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Leslie_Ferris

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Click here for the Audio and Workbook – 4 Giant Pitfalls to Avoid While Your Child Is In Recovery – Plus the ONE Critical Fact You Must Know


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  1. Lisa Frederiksen - BreakingTheCycles.com

    This question is SUCH a good place to start, Leslie! I know myself I kept pushing the “what I tolerate” boundary further and further out because I’d never stopped to face the fact that what one tolerates would be unacceptable in just about any other circumstance but we tolerate it because we’re afraid of it being a “real” problem when it comes to substance misuse. I love your work, Leslie, and admire your ability to share important insights that can help those struggling with a loved one’s substance misuse – this line, is a case in point, ” If you are tolerating something that isn’t the best for you, there is a really good chance it might not be good for others too.”

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Lisa. Yes, we do tend justify what we tolerate to fit the situation, don’t we? Just another aspect of it that we have to look I guess!

  2. Bill White, Licensed Counselor

    I’m with you, Leslie. Finding ourselves in the middle of a “tolerating challenge” presents a prime opportunity to take a loooong look within. So, hmmm, what am I tolerating? Well, it doesn’t really have anything to do with the theme of your blog; however, I toss it out there. I am daily tolerating emotional/mental health clinicians who care more about their therapy manuals and organizational protocol than they do about being with their client in the moment. I’m often shocked at the degree of heartlessness. There, I feel better now. And now to taking that loooong look within. You do tons of good here, Leslie – and you can bet I’ll keep coming back. Thank you…

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks so much Bill for stopping around today. Yes I can see how what you are tolerating is troublesome. Being in the moment with the client seems critical to doing the best work possible, so yes – frustrating! This ‘what are you tolerating’ question is pretty universal actually, right? It does not at all necessarily have to do with being the parent of a struggling child. :) I have to ask myself the same in every situation sometimes and we all are tolerating something. It’s just “what is it???” Cheers Bill, and thanks again.

  3. Cathy Taughinbaugh

    Great question, Leslie. Sometime we let things build up and don’t examine our lives and what we are tolerating that we shouldn’t be. This is a question I need to ask myself and honestly I don’t have a good answer at the moment. Wonderful reminder though to take a look and think about you are putting up with that is getting you down and you may not even realize it. Take care!

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Thanks Cathy, yes this certainly applies to us all, and not just for those parents of troubled kids! Thanks for stopping by!!!

  4. Jody

    Good point. I’ve personally witnessed a whole lot of tolerating of bad behavior by parents who seem to have just given up any ability to control their children. I have a relative who tolerates her 10-year-old daughter’s complete dismissal of everything she should be doing (going to bed on time, turning off the computer when she’s told, etc.). My relative will nag and nag but she never approaches the situation in any remotely productive way so the child simply continues and blocks out the nagging. Those are the moments in which I do not envy being a parent. It’s hard!

    1. Leslie Ferris

      Yes, it really is hard, and it can wear us out. Perhaps this is what is going on with your relative, who knows. IF she could get on the other side of it where she can place boundaries and consequences around the child, things would start to change and it would be sooooo much better for both of them!!

  5. John

    Leslie, Your article really caught my attention. When reading your post about tolerance I was thinking about tough love. It’s so hard as parents to detach from our children or any loved one in the mist of active alcoholism. The active drug addict /alcoholic is unpredictable and hard to live with and care for. I appreciate you being forthright with parents about helping / tollerating their children’s misbehavior. This disease is so difficult to understand for those who have never themselves had an addiction problem. When I talk with parents of addicts, it’s heart breaking to hear the pain in their voices trying to fiqure out how to help their child. It’s is as much of an emotional journey for the parent as it is for their child. When a parent puts his/her foot down and does what’s best for themselves, they are doing what’s best for their child as well. This truely is a family disease except a lot of times the active addict / alcoholic only thinks they are hurting themselves. Thank you for your straightforward post. I think parents should stop blaming themselves and stop feeling guilty and responsible if their child has fallen off track. I like this quote and I think you might too, “there is nothing wrong with tough love, as long as the love is unconditional”. Not sure who wrote it but it’s the truth!
    Bests, John from Life’s Journey

    1. Leslie Ferris

      I love that quote John – nice. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Appreciate that. Just looking at what we are tolerating can help us make the right decisions for ourselves, and as you point out, turns out to be the best for your child as well in the long run! Cheers.

  6. Wade @ Serenity Thailand Rehab

    I am presently dealing with a woman in Australia that “tolerates” he sons meth use. As with most of these things it started out innocently enough for her, she found drugs in his room. He said he will never do it again, she said if he does he can’t live there, etc. etc. etc. As addicts do he pushed the boundaries, a little more each day, until she is basically supporting his habit and giving him the money to continue his use.

    Tolerance of other people is good as you have said, but once tolerating crosses to co-dependent and enabling it needs to be addressed.

    1. Leslie Ferris

      For sure!! I wish your friend the best of luck.

  7. Amy

    Your blog post really struck home for me. I was just having this discussion with my husband the other day (which prompted my google search and led me to your blog). Where do we draw the line between tolerating disrespect and bad disrespect (while we are enforcing consequences) and there is no improvement in behavior? When do we reach out for help before it affects our family long term. (I don’t expect an answer, just thinking out loud).

  1. Addiction Recovery Blog RoundUp - 2/20/15

    […] Beth over at B Here Today often has thoughtful, mindful posts. Her focus this week is your recovery and the idea that we are all in recovery from something. Since my focus has been on codependency issues this week, I read her post in that light. The comment that struck me was: “Chances are you’ve been someone’s collateral damage.” When you are struggling with someone who is struggling with addiction issues, you are automatically someone else’s collateral damage. The question then becomes, what will you do with that damage. Carry it like a weight around your neck and let it bring you down? Drag it behind you like a load of manure on a tarp? Or will you choose to face it head on and refuse to let it take over your life? The good news is, as always, you get the choice. Parents Of Struggling Kids: What Are You Tolerating? […]

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