Chapter

Children managing parental drug and alcohol misuse: challenging parent—child boundaries

Angus Bancroft, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Hugh Masters and Kathryn Backett-Milburn

in Families in society

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2005 | ISBN: 9781861346438
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302292 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781861346438.003.0007
Children managing parental drug and alcohol misuse: challenging parent—child boundaries

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Parental drug and alcohol misuse challenges the parent-child boundary that is generally created, sustained and enforced through norms, roles, individual practices and social institutions. However, empirical studies of family life show that these boundaries, although vested with so much emotional energy and material resources, are malleable and breakable. This chapter reports on data from interviews conducted with 38 young people between the ages of 15 and 27 who had experienced parental substance misuse for a substantial period in their childhoods. It notes that the ways in which children experience care can result in a re-defining of who is a parent. This is a fluid definition as a substance-using parent may attempt to re-establish emotional bonds, or as the young person themselves becomes a parent.

Keywords: parental abuse; substance abuse; parent-child boundary; emotional bonds; alcohol misuse

Chapter.  5344 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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