Elevating a child to the role of supporter and adult can lead to neglect and emotional abuse. A parent who is overly dependent on a child can also be critical and neglectful. Parents who have traversed or inverted parent-child roles can refuse or be unable to provide appropriate support for the child. This can result in a confusing mix of love and abuse (Hosier, 2015).
When a parent relies on the child, the child’s needs are not being met. Children who are placed in the role of adults often do not know how to ask for help. They understand that their parent is unable or uninterested in providing emotional support, so they deny their own needs.