Is Natalie's protection of her mother a reversal of roles? Does it happen often nowadays? Any personal experiences?

Use this forum to discuss the April 2018 Book of the Month, "Ironbark Hill" by Jennie Linnane
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Mildred Tabitha
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Re: Is Natalie's protection of her mother a reversal of roles? Does it happen often nowadays? Any personal experiences?

Post by Mildred Tabitha » 19 Apr 2018, 02:06

I agree that it happens nowadays too. I know this because I am a firstborn and I think firstborn children are 99% more likely to face this situation. Even some parents encourage it when they keep telling you that you should care for your younger siblings and be a role model. So often times we find ourselves taking a role that is not ours instead of being a child and enjoying life.

I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing but we can all see that even though Natalie tried her best to be in control of the situation, she was still affected. This is clearly shown in some mistakes she made like loving someone else's husband.

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Post by teacherjh » 19 Apr 2018, 13:44

I think eventual role-reversal is a normal part of life. The parent ages and needs care from the child. I took care of my disabled mother the last years of her life. It's almost a returning of all the love they poured into you as a child. It is difficult in so many emotional ways, but also rewarding.

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Post by Sheenah684 » 19 Apr 2018, 15:17

This can happen without abuse or neglect. I have experience in which once my brother and I became adults, our parents started acting irresponsibly and needed us to be the voice of common sense. It is a lesser extent, but it happens to so many people.

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Post by Haute_Coffee » 20 Apr 2018, 07:39

It happens without a doubt. My husband does so much for his parents as they really just have trouble navigating life, technology etc.

I think it happens more commonly at a younger age for children with parents who have dependency on drugs or alcohol.

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Post by Ebonez_nahmi » 20 Apr 2018, 11:08

Mildred Tabitha wrote:
19 Apr 2018, 02:06
I agree that it happens nowadays too. I know this because I am a firstborn and I think firstborn children are 99% more likely to face this situation. Even some parents encourage it when they keep telling you that you should care for your younger siblings and be a role model. So often times we find ourselves taking a role that is not ours instead of being a child and enjoying life.

I don't know if this is a good or a bad thing but we can all see that even though Natalie tried her best to be in control of the situation, she was still affected. This is clearly shown in some mistakes she made like loving someone else's husband.
I wasn't the oldest child but my parents kept telling me I had to be a second mother to my siblings-all boys.
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Post by SkyeDragon » 20 Apr 2018, 17:27

This type of reverse role play happens a lot when the basic structure of a family breaks down. This leads to children having to be adults long before they are ready. As a result of this, they are not able to learn how to be productive adults themselves. This causes the destruction of the basic family structure to continue generation after generation.

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Post by rs1977 » 20 Apr 2018, 20:31

Kids should grow up as kids, and should not be put in situations
where they have to act like adults. It is unfortunate that, as
mentioned in the story, there are instances of kids needing to
act like adults because of the circumstances happen in the society.
A healthy family environment should be nurtured in the society
through awareness creation and education.

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Post by Litzy reader » 20 Apr 2018, 22:10

Yes. It definitely is a reversal of roles. Though not forced, this situation is very unfortunate. A child should not miss out on his/her childhood.

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Post by AmySmiles » 22 Apr 2018, 11:39

I think it happens all to much than it should. It is sad when children are not allowed or can't be children and have to grow up faster than what they should. Unfortunately that is how it is sometimes.

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Post by cianarae » 22 Apr 2018, 12:28

My mother is a single mother of 7. I am the oldest child. When my mom was in nursing school, I had to help her take care of my siblings a lot, although I was pretty young myself. My mom also has problems with alcohol, so I've had to take care of her from time to time. I wouldn't say it was a full on reversal of roles though. I also don't see any part of my childhood being abusive whatsoever.

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Post by PlanetHauth » 22 Apr 2018, 23:07

mmklundt wrote:
04 Apr 2018, 20:34
I think this is common. If there is one parent in the household who is less of an abuser or is abused themselves the child will have an attachment to that parent that goes beyond the normal. Not only will the affection be doubled because of the need but a child will also defend because of the bond felt to that parent.
I agree with you. I've heard about and seen several relationships like this. The abused child clings to the parent who doesn't abuse them because they're the one lifeline; they're the one good thing/person in the child's life (even if that person doesn't stand up for the child when being abused). The person doesn't even really need to be that great of a person, but because they don't actually lay a hand on the child, that's who the child clings to and bonds with.
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Post by gen_g » 24 Apr 2018, 11:17

I do agree that there is indeed a role reversal going on here – the child who is supposed to be protected becomes the protector. However, Natalie is 16, she is neither a child nor an adult - all of us were fools of varying extent at 16, after all. In my opinion, it would not be that accurate to claim that her childhood was stolen. However, claiming that she was pushed into adulthood unwillingly is not entirely inaccurate either. I suppose it comes down to one's personality and emotional maturity, as age is just a number. Natalie was indeed forced to grow up at an age that is earlier than the social norm – which might not be a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. In this sense, the role reversal might not hold as much weight then, as I feel that emotional maturity and one's outlook on life are the more important factors as compared to biology and parentage.

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Post by holsam_87 » 26 Apr 2018, 00:30

This was definitely a case of role reversal. I have known of a situation where this happened a few years ago. Having to be an adult before you are ready will make life a lot harder.
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Post by Supergirl1 » 26 Apr 2018, 01:14

I think this happens more often than people would like to admit. So many people have had to keep trying to protect their parents from abuse, so many times without success. Sadly, this results into such people growing up to become very frustrated adults.

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Post by stalliongirlke » 26 Apr 2018, 06:31

Parents are supposed to protect their children and not the way round. When the opposite happens,then thats definitely reverse roles. In my part of the eorld those kind of things happen

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