I wrote yesterday about how kids with 'special' responsibilities develop special abilities, and take on personas that help them cope. Or, to sound less like an Expert, I wrote about my personas (just two of them) that helped me cope. I've no idea if these are universal. Perhaps I am just messed up.
At any rate.
That post got me thinking about who the 'normal' families are and whether there even is such a thing. I don't want to this to turn into a research paper, so I'm just going to list all the 'family types' where I think kids might have more emotional or practical responsibilities than my imagined norm. Each is followed by a question mark for obvious reasons.
- Single-parent households? (E.g. through divorce, bereavement, personal choice)
- Households where grandparents or other relatives are care-takers (instead of parents)?
- Households where a sibling has been ill or died?
- Households where someone has a physical disability other than illness?
- Households where a parent or child is ill for a long time? (Keep in mind the huge numbers of people who have the so-called 'lifestyle diseases' now. Chronic, long-term conditions that require continued care and can sometimes be very debilitating and involve complications.)
- Households crippled by debt?
- Homeless families?
- Families who have to move a lot for work?
Is it possible that within each of these, kids take on relatively more emotional responsibility than the imagined or actual norm? Is there a norm? What is it?
And more importantly I think, if there are so many types of situations where this kind of thing can happen, are many of these kids feeling alone? Like I did? Like I still do? WHY?