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.
Combining theoretical, empirical, and clinical knowledge, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective contains recent research and information that will help mental health practitioners, family therapists, psychologists, and counselors understand the characteristics, dynamics, needs, and issues of nonclinical stepfamilies. Based on direct experiences with diverse types of stepfamilies, this book gives you new guidelines and strategies that will enable you to offer more successful sessions to your clients and improve your effectiveness as a practitioner. Developed to give you a more realistic understanding of stepfamilies, this text helps you avoid the stereotypes and false perceptions that often surround stepfamilies. Offering methods and strategies aimed at making your clients feel comfortable about themselves and their situations, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective examines several aspects of these families that you need to know in order to improve your effectiveness with them, including: the definition and description of stepfamilies and recognizing historical and social changes in the stepfamily structure critical reviews on the present knowledge of stepfamilies describing the complexity of family structure, the ambiguity of boundaries and roles, and the struggle with the diverse phases of the life cycle discussing key issues for stepfamilies, such as past orientation and acceptance/rejection of differences from non-stepfamilies and focal subsystems the profile, characteristics, and case studies of an innovative typology of stepfamilies that includes integrated families, invented families, and imported families aspects of ethnically and culturally different stepfamilies, including American stepfamilies, Israeli stepfamilies, and immigrant stepfamilies from the former Soviet Union social perceptions and attitudes of stepfamilies in schools, social services, community organizations, the media, and with the law Offering case studies and data on a variety of families and situations, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective will show you that all stepfamilies are not the same and cannot be helped by just one practice method. Complete with principles and instruments to assess patients and the success of sessions, Stepfamilies: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective works to promote an understanding of stepfamilies that will result in effective and positive therapy for your clients.
While statistics indicate that nearly half of all first marriages in America today terminate in divorce, more than three-quarters of these divorces also result in remarriage, producing stepfamilies. Although they have become increasingly common, stepfamilies are still poorly understood, by stepfamily and non-stepfamily members alike. This book looks at the internal and external dynamics of this new family form, taking the reader through a series of case studies and examining characteristic pitfalls and opportunities. The author begins by comparing the basic building block of the stepfamily--the remarried couple--to the first-married couple. In successive chapters the structure of the stepfamily is considered in terms of increasing complexity, from the simplest, in which one of the partners has never married before and has no children, to the most complex "yours and ours" stepfamilies, in which there are children from both previous marriages and the present one. The author probes the conflicts that arise between parents and children and among stepsiblings and explores the different strategies that stepfamilies devise for resolving these tensions. In the later chapters, the sociohistorical origins of today's stepfamilies are traced in terms of changing values and new technologies. Professor Beer argues that stepfamilies are proliferating as a result of attitudes and patterns of behavior that, more than ever, encourage divorce and remarriage. He demonstrates on the basis of large-scale evidence that stepfamilies produce children who are just as well adjusted as children brought up by both biological parents, and that they will turn out to be adults who are almost as socially well adapted as those from conventional families. The author concludes that stepfamilies are types of families in their own right, with foreseeable difficulties and rich rewards.
View the inner workings of healthy stepfamilies through the stories of twenty families as they discuss how their households operate. This enlightening book takes a deeper look at what adults and children in stepfamilies say about such issues as discipline, money, family roles and relationships with ex-spouses, and the development of new traditions and rituals. Incorporating actual words of family members, Developing Healthy Stepfamilies shows many ways in which stepfamilies function well through adapting new and different “rules” to fit their circumstances. The book concentrates on positive rather than negative aspects of stepfamily life to help dim the image of stepfamilies as problematic and also to instill hope in would-be stepfamilies by normalizing their differences from biologically based families. Written with the intention of disseminating information and increasing understanding about stepfamily functioning, this book is useful for stepfamilies, their friends and relatives, and professionals such as teachers, clergy, physicians, and counselors. Developing Healthy Stepfamilies draws a colorful picture of the creativity and flexibility such families have brought to their lives and relationships. Emphasizing what works in stepfamilies instead of what does not, the book illustrates the process of integrating a stepfamily, the value of humor and patience, and the richness that can unfold for all members of the family. The author, a family therapist and educator, has drawn together information direct from stepfamily members themselves, providing readers with first-hand knowledge of the daily workings of this fast growing family form. A showcase of stepfamilies that are functioning well, Developing Healthy Stepfamilies helps show would-be stepfamilies that “it can be done.” This is not a book of instructions; it illuminates the many ways in which stepfamilies can and do function. Some of the topics covered in the book include: definitions of a stepfamily a historical review demographics suggestions for new stepfamilies from established ones genograms of the families participating in the study As a group, stepfamilies are different from biologically based families in form and function. These differences are important for the families, and for those working with them, to recognize and accept as normal. Although intended to be an informative text for professionals and students in fields such as counseling and social work, this book also serves as a source of hope and encouragement for stepfamilies and prospective stepfamilies themselves.
Stepfamilies represent an increasing number of American households and shape the upbringing of countless stepchildren. Despite their prominence in society, our knowledge about these families is very limited. To address this deficit, the editors have drawn together the work of 16 nationally known scholars to deal with four questions: * Marriages that create stepfamilies: Why do they occur? Fail? Succeed? * How do stepfamilies function as child rearing environments? * How do stepfamilies function as sources of support in later life? * Building research and policy agendas: What is needed? In seeking answers to these questions, the book bridges the disciplines of psychology, sociology, social psychology, child development, demography, law and policy. Readers will gain an understanding of the current knowledge about stepfamilies, obtain an appreciation of the diverse views on a variety of stepfamily issues, learn about existing and anticipated laws and policies that affect stepfamilies, and acquire ideas on needed research and policy agendas. Chapter authors are leading figures in psychology, sociology, demography, human development, and family law; their contributions are valuable to researchers, teachers, and students as well as policymakers and legislatures.
Brave New Stepfamilies maps the changing landscape of American stepfamilies, taking readers on a tour through the diverse assortment of traditional and not-so-traditional stepfamily forms that have emerged in recent years. Author Susan D. Stewart presents the latest scholarly research on stepfamilies in an accessible way, weaving together predominant theoretical perspectives, findings from research and national surveys, and interviews with stepfamily members.
This book has its roots in the authors' 16 years of direct clinical experience with almost 500 stepfamilies, as well as their own personal experience as a stepfamily. In response to the dearth of resources for stepfamilies in the therapeutic community, the Burts have created an intervention that addresses the specific concerns and challenges of the stepfamily: the Step By Step Model of Brief Therapy. This important book outlines the model and its applications. The strengths of the Step By Step Model are in its simplicity and flexibility, and in the collaborative process between client and therapist. The authors' discussion highlights the necessity of providing clients with realistic perspectives, strategies, and tools that help them to be more in control of the stepfamily process. Whether related to interactions, adjustments, or developmental stages, the Step By Step Model is designed to accommodate the many forces at work both inside and outside the therapy room. This perspective will help any clinician, regardless of specific orientation, to bring into focus therapeutic strategies that help these families move forward.