Space Invaders: A Game About Boundaries

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A card game for families designed to form healthy safe and consistent boundaries in the home.

Type of intervention


Target groups, level of prevention and subgroups

  • Situations/Places | Homes | Game | English


Target population

All families (including those with step-children and foster children) regardless of whe

Delivery organisation

Not specific; any professionals in the field of parenting/child protection.

Mode and context of delivery

This is a card game, therefore no specific ‘context’ of delivery and can be used within any family. The purpose of the game is to form healthy, safe and consistent boundaries in each family’s home.

Level/nature of staff expertise required

Any professionals involved in the child protection and sexual abuse arena, including teaching, counselling, parent and family workers, social workers, youth justice officers, probation officers and adolescent mental health workers.

Intensity/extent of engagement with target group(s)

A game that can be played and reinforced over the duration of intervention as boundaries and skills are implemented and learned. The author recommended ‘repeated playing of the game to reinforce boundaries after they have been defined and to assist in maintaining an open dialogue about family related boundaries.'

Description of intervention

The game involves 6 different categories of boundaries in the home:

  • Physical boundaries - hugs, kissing, lap sitting, private parts, wrestling, tickling
  • Physical boundaries II - sleeping, showering, bathing, cleaning the child
  • Physical boundaries III - nudity, privacy, hitting, pornography
  • Emotional boundaries - alcohol, drugs, parental disagreements
  • Emotional boundaries II - verbal flooding, role confusion, limit setting, emotional intrusion
  • Sexual boundaries - emotions, physical, internet, video games, phones & technology


The questions on the cards are directed to different family members in four categories: child, sibling, parents and all family.




Johnson, T C (2005) ‘Young children’s problematic sexual behaviours, unsubstantiated allegations of child sexual abuse and family boundaries in child custody disputes’. In Journal of Child Custody, 2 (4).

Johnson, T C & Hooper, R (2003) ‘Boundaries and family practices: Implications for assessing child abuse’. In Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 12 (3/4), pp 103 -126.

Johnson, T C., Huang, B E & Simpson, P (2009) ‘Sibling family practices: Guidelines for healthy boundaries’. In Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 18 (3), pp339 - 353

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