Stepfamilies: History, Research, and Policy

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Examines the language use, laws, cultural stereotypes, media images, and social policies and practices that contribute to views about stepfamilies and their members in mainstream western culture. Some of the issues addressed are how honor and empowerment can be attained in new family structures, how alternative kin networks can be as health as traditional nuclear families, and the damaging effects of treating stepfamilies as incomplete and undesirable institutions. The 17 articles are also published as v. 26, nos. 1/2/3/4. Paper edition 0338-4, $24.95. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780789003379
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 1/28/1997
  • Pages: 346
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Stepfamilies from a Historical Perspective 5
Stepfamilies in 1984 and Today - A Scholarly Perspective 19
Confronting Nuclear Family Bias in Stepfamily Research 41
Step-Family Variations 71
How Society Views Stepfamilies 85
Stepfamilies from the Stepfamily's Perspective 107
Stepfamily as Project 123
Stepfamilies from the Child's Perspective: From Stepfamily to Close Relationships 135
Stepfamilies from Siblings' Perspectives 153
The Stepparent Role from a Gender Perspective 177
Stepfamily Therapy from the Client's Perspective 191
Current Knowledge About Child Abuse in Stepfamilies 215
Stepfamilies from a Legal Perspective 231
Stepfamilies from a Policy Perspective: Guidance from the Empirical Literature 249
Stepfamily Policy from the Perspective of a Stepfamily Organisation 265
Family Life Education Programs for Stepfamilies 281
Step- and Foster Families: A Comparison 301
Index 317
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