Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Parentified Child in Family Systems

  • Kristy L. SoloskiEmail author
  • Brie Turns
  • Cydney Schleiden
  • Porter Macey
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_479


Parental Child; Parentification


Parentification* in the family system is defined as a functional and/or emotional role reversal wherein the child sacrifices his or her own needs in order to accommodate and care for emotional or logistical needs of a parent (Chase 1999). An important aspect of the parent-child relationship is how both parties learn to respond to one another’s needs. On one side of the spectrum, responding to a parent’s needs can help a child develop compassion and reciprocity with others (Chase 1999); on the opposite end, if a parent depends too much on the child, forcing them to assume many of the parent’s responsibilities, the parentified child* may learn that his or her needs are less important than others (Chase 1999). When children take over parental responsibilities, they will often leave the childhood status functioning more as an adult.

Prominent Associated Figures

Parentification* has been described from different theoretical approaches,...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristy L. Soloski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brie Turns
    • 1
  • Cydney Schleiden
    • 1
  • Porter Macey
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mudita Rastogi
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy UniversitySchaumburgUSA