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Families in societyBoundaries and relationships$
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Linda McKie and Sarah Cunningham-Burley

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9781861346438

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861346438.001.0001

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date: 18 August 2017

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

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

Chapter:
(p.111) Seven Children managing parental drug and alcohol misuse: challenging parent—child boundaries
Source:
Families in society
Author(s):

Angus Bancroft

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Cunningham-Burley

Hugh Masters

Kathryn Backett-Milburn

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781861346438.003.0007

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

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