Communication within Families
Three 17 year old high school students are planning on going to an 8pm movie together on a Friday night.
Sally has no curfew, so she didn’t think going to the movies would be a problem. Sally asked her mother on Tuesday if she could go and her mother said "yes." When Friday arrived, her mother told Sally that she couldn’t go to the movies anymore, it was too late for her to go out, and she needed to stay home. Her mother then left to go to the bar, and Sally was left to feed and care for her younger brother.
Mary asked her father if she could go to the movies. He responded that as her curfew was 9pm she was not allowed to go to the movies. Mary did not want to question her father’s decision, so she kept quiet, even though it was the weekend, and she had no responsibilities on Saturday morning. Mary asked her mother if she would try to talk to her father to convince him to lift the curfew for one night, but her mother refused to do so.
Sam asked his parents if he could go to the movies. His parents stated that while normally his curfew was 9pm, it was a weekend night and he had no plans early in the morning on Saturday. Sam’s parents decided that as long as his homework and chores were finished, he could have an extension on his curfew for the evening, and could go to the movies. On Friday afternoon, Sam completed his homework and chores, and left to see the movie, with the promise to call his parents if the movie got out later than 10pm.
Respond to the following using the information from the text and lectures:
- Identify which boundary is best described by each family in the scenario above.
- Identify which boundary inadequacies are present in each family, if applicable.
- Explain how each boundary and boundary inadequacy manifests itself.
- What behaviors contribute to the development and maintenance of each of these boundaries?
- Which of these teens are at risk for future substance abuse and why?
- What can parents do to avoid or change any maladaptive boundary patterns in their families?