Counseling Center

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Unhealthy Family Dynamics

  • Impaired parenting- Parenting is a complex and demanding task that can be impacted by other factors influencing the parent.
    • Impaired parenting can cause the child to become scapegoated, experience abuse, or emotional neglect. This impaired parenting could exist for a variety of reasons including:

  • * Physical illness or physical disability
    * Alcohol and drug use
    * Mental illness and developmental disabilities
    * Trauma

  • Parentification of children- Having an impaired parent often leads to a child having to fill the vacant parental role.
    • Unfortunately the child is also acting as an impaired parent due to the child having responsibility but no authority. The child may blame themselves for not trying to make the family better, which may lead to feelings of worthlessness or not being good enough.
    • The child may also overlook his or her own interests and developmental needs will be impacted by the parentification. Children may also develop superstitions and unhealthy beliefs to manage anxiety and experiences within the family.
  • Boundary violations- Boundaries delineate physical and psychological space between individuals within a family. Boundary violations typically occur through:
    • Physical abuse
    • Sexual abuse or inappropriate sexual behavior
    • Violations of privacy with no justification
    • Inability or unwillingness to protect the child from trauma intrusive parental involvement in child's personal life including relationships, hygiene, schedule, diet, etc…
    • Unnecessary exposure to details of marital conflict, sexual relationships, infidelities, etc…
    • Extreme emphasis on and intrusive involvement in achievement-oriented activities. More Dynamics