Steven W. Saldukas, PhD
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Child/Parent Transition

Understanding Adult Child/Parent Role Reversal

As life progresses, I have frequently witnessed the transition that occurs between parents and their adult children. As many people move into their elderly years, they begin to lose their independence and freedom. This leaves their adult children in the position of often having to step into more of a parental role. This role reversal frequently disrupts the status quo of family dynamics by introducing change. In turn, change in roles often results in uncomfortable feelings and conflicted relationships.


Many of the elderly patients I treat have been independent, self-sufficient adults for many years - making all of their own decisions about most aspects of their life. Losing the ability to remember things, to do simple functions, or being told that it is no longer safe to live in their own home can feel like a loss of control over their life. Uncomfortable feelings secondary to loss of control can readily occur even when the family has acted in a well-intended fashion. Uncomfortable feelings and changes in behavior can often include:

• Fear
• Anxiety
• Anger
• Resentment
• Social withdrawal
• Sleep disturbance
• Irritability
• Aggressively acting out either verbally or physically


Although medication can alleviate some problematic emotions and behaviors, it can be helpful to add psychotherapy as an adjunctive intervention, as there is much healing in listening to and understanding the patient - a process that I have frequently seen.

If Dr. Saldukas can assist you please call 239-304-9026.

1:21 pm est 


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