Stepfamilies: History, Research, and Policy

1st Edition

Marvin B Sussman

Routledge
Published December 10, 1997
Reference - 346 Pages
ISBN 9780789003386 - CAT# HW12251

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Summary

Stepfamilies: History, Research, and Policy examines language use, laws, cultural stereotypes, media images, and social policies and practices to create an understanding of how predominant views about stepfamilies and stepfamily members are constructed within society. As the rates of divorce and remarriage continue to increase, it is more important than ever to overcome nuclear family ideology and abandon the model of research that compares stepfamilies with nonstepfamilies. This book shows you how honor and empowerment can be attained in new family structures and how alternative kin networks can be just as healthy as the traditional nuclear family unit.

As this book examines the ability of different societies to integrate different family forms into mainstream notions of “family,” you will realize the damaging effects of treating stepfamilies as incomplete, undesirable institutions. In fact, Stepfamilies: History, Research, and Policy will challenge your notions of family over and over again, as it discusses:
  • key relationships in stepfamilies
  • stepfather involvement in parenting after remarriage
  • meaning of gender in a stepfamily
  • differences in “investment” between biological and nonbiological parents
  • demographic change and significant shifts in the social and cultural implications of stepfamilies
  • attempting to reconstruct a household like that of a previous marriage
  • the impact of stereotypes on the internal dynamics of stepfamilies and on the interactions of stepfamilies with outsiders
  • the absence of guidelines and cultural norms for role performance and problem solving in stepfamilies

    Stepfamilies: History, Research, and Policy discusses both the difficulties of forming new families and households as well as the factors that promote family cohesiveness and integration in stepfamilies. From stereotypes of stepmothers to ambiguous legal relationships to child maltreatment in stepfamilies to sibling relations, there isn’t much that the penetrating lens of this book leaves uncovered.

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