Step Parenting: Creating and Recreating Families in America Today

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In an era when teachers commonly report that up to half of the children in their classes come from multiple homes and have multiple caretakers, the special psychological challenges of stepparenting have never been in greater need of examination. As thoughtful clinicians have long known, stepparenting is among the most complicated of psychological projects: it may simultaneously be a multifaceted burden and a spur to personal autonomy, deepened sensitivity to others, and newfound competence as a nurturer. Among the thousands of divorced people who remarry each year, most - despite their best resolve to live in the present - persist in reassessing the price of separation, especially as they come to appreciate the fact that divorce is seldom a total break for their children.

Stepparenting is a comprehensive exploration of the process of reconstructing families. More specifically, it is a book about the perils and promise of stepparenting, a caretaking role that may be more challenging than biologically given child rearing. Contributors follow people as they try to reevaluate past misunderstandings and acclimate to new parenting contexts and obligations. Editors Cath and Shopper have taken pains to offer a balanced purview that includes both successful and maladaptive instances of stepparenting. Of special note are the clincal examples throughout the book that chart the extended periods of slow, creative learning experienced by parents and children, biological and step, as they test the waters of new family systems and try to elicit newly attuned responses from each other.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881631760
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 362
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Stanley H. Cath, M.D., is Medical Director of the Family Advisory Service and Treatment Center, Belmont, Massachusetts, and Lecturer in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Cath is senior coeditor of Father and Child: Developmental and Clinical Perspectives (1982) and Fathers and Their Families (Analytic Press, 1989).

Moisy Shopper, M.D., is Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry and Pediatrics, St. Louis University School of Medicine, and Training and Supervising Analyst (child and adult), St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Some Reflections on Shakespeare and the History of Family Life
Introduction: "Stepfathers: Varieties and Job Descriptions" - Moisy Shopper
"Some Steppaternal Possibilities" - Lora Heims Tessman
"Some Important Contributions of the Stepfather to the Psychological Development of the Boy" - Eugenio M. Rothe
"Between Marriages: A Period of Dread" - Stanley H. Cath
"Affect Tolerance: A Crucial Requirement for Substitute Parenting" - Steven L. Nickman
-"The 'Henry VIII' Syndrome: The Mystical Biological Bond versus a Stepfather's 'Watching Her Spoil Her Own'" - Stanley H. Cath
-"The Contemporary Stepfather's Search for Legitimacy" - Ira Brenner
-"Fear of Maternal Aspects of a Stepmother: A Homage to My Stepmother, a Woman Who Transcended Living with an Adolescent Stepdaughter" - Brenda Clorfene Solomon
"The Challenge of Maintaining the Fathering Role After Divorce: Overcoming Shame" - Eugenio M. Rothe
"The Stepfather in a Reconstituted Family" - H. Gunther Perdigao
"Countertransferences: Stepfathers in Midlfe and Beyond" - Stanley H. Cath
"The Vantage Points of Two Stepsisters in Midlife" - Stanley H. Cath
"The Death of a Stepfather: A Funeral that Cuts All Ties" - Stanley H. Cath
"Stepfathers: Clinical Explorations" - Robert M. Galatzer-Levy
"The Ready Acceptance of a Stepfather: 'I Learned to Love Him Very Slowly'" - Stanley H. Cath
"Stepdaughters and Stepfathers: Living Together in a Haunted House" - Martin A. Silverman
"A Parade of Pseudostepfathers: Altruism and Gratification in a Surrogate Stepfather" - Stanley H. Cath
"On Childless Stepparents" - Jerome S. Blackman
"Naivete: Love and Hate Factors in the Outcome of Stepfatherhood" - Henry J. Friedman and Jamie L. Feldman
"Small Step, Giant Step: A Stepfather" - Lora Heims Tessman
"Incest: What is it, and How did it Come to Be?" - Moisy Shopper
"Oedipal Reenactments with Stepmother and Stepfather: Incest and splitting of the Superego" - Leon Wurmser
"'Reluctant but Necessay Rape' in the Life of a Tween" - Stanley H. Cath
Birthlands, Steplands, and Adopted Lands: The Immigrant's Tryst with Psychogeographic Maps and Territories" - Purnima Mehta
"The Stepfather in Sophocles' Electra" - Melvin R. Lansky
"Legal Rights of Stepparents: A Concept in Development" - Moisy Shopper
"Some Forensic, Financial, and Transference Considerations: A Stepdaughter as 'Family Brick'" - Stanley H. Cath
-Forensic and Therapeutic Issues in Stepparent Adoption: A Psychoanalytic Perspective" - Harold J. Burstajn and Rachel R. Boersma
Epilogue: "The Therapeutic Importance of 'Recognition Processes' in Attachment, Detachment, and Reattachment Experiences" - Stanley H. Cath and Moisy Shopper

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