Dear Christy,

I hope that you can help.  I am constantly trying to set boundaries with my mother regarding what goes on in my home.  My son’s birthday is coming up and my mom insists on buying him a drum set.  I have asked her numerous times not to buy it.  We live in a small house and we also try and live a minimalistic lifestyle.  Each time she brings up the drum set I get more and more angry.  I do not want this drum set in my house.  She just can’t seem to take no for an answer.  She constantly tries to guilt me or make me feel like a bad parent about it.  Please help. 


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Livingston Dad


Dear Livingston Dad,

Thank you for reaching out to me about this issue.  You are absolutely right to feel the way that you do about the drum set.  Your mom has every right to want to buy a gift for your son.  What she doesn’t have the right to do is disrespect the rules that you have set in your home.  You could suggest to her that she is welcome to buy the drum set, and keep it at her house.  That way your son has something to look forward to when he goes to visit her. Telling your mom no one time is enough.  You don’t have to explain why you are saying no.  The reason that you feel so angry with your mom is because she is not respecting your personal boundaries.  It is your job to set your own personal boundaries.  Also, she cannot “guilt” you into anything if you don’t allow her to do so.  Setting boundaries with our parents is always the hardest to do.  But with time she will learn to respect them.  You are doing the right thing by speaking your mind firmly and kindly. Next time the drum set gets brought up kindly change the subject.

All the very best,