Thursday, December 11, 2008

Claudia has some really interesting thoughts this morning.

She writes about parentified kids, kids who have had been in a position of responsibility and how they need a different sort of parenting style.

Gary may or may not be parentified in the way she speaks, but he is a really good example of a kid who needs not to be feel that the parents are trying to have power of him. Actually all my kids have responded poorly to anything they perceive as authoritarian. That doesn't mean not being the parent, but it does mean using a different sort of language.


  1. So what's the current thinking on "parentified" children?

    I ask both as a prospective foster mom and as a grown up parentified child. I know what worked and what didn't work for me, but my experience is not the general experience and "work" in my case means that there was peace and tranquility and I felt ok about handing some of my responsibilities back over to a parent. There might be other goals that I don't know about.

  2. Jenniebee,
    I really have no idea what is the most current thought about how to parent parentified children. I personally have really like they way Cindy talks about it. She has adopted several sibling groups and she has said that the parentified child has earned their status.

    There is just so much in that one comment. She is accepting the parentified child as is, respecting what they do. She has also told stories about how after time they have let her be the parent. I think there is something very wise about that.

    You mention feeling okay aboy handing over responsibilities. I think there is a parallel there.

    My gut thought is that that is what needs to happen -- the kids need to feel safe enough to turn over their responsibilities. It probably works less well to try to force them to do that before they ready.

  3. I like that too. I think it's also important to realize that taking care of others can become a coping mechanism for kids like that (and as coping mechanisms go, it's a pretty benign one) so trying to take it away is really a double whammy. I know that, even today, situations that cause grief and anxiety (my Grandmother's death two years ago, for instance) get much easier for me if there's someone around who needs me - puts it right back in a comfort zone for me. It's kind of ghoulish, I suppose, but there are plenty of people in this world who need a comforter, it can't be all bad to have a few people around who feel better when they offer comfort.


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