Strangers in the House: The World of Stepsiblings and Half-Siblings / Edition 1 available in Paperback
There are many books on the successes and difficulties of second marriages that involve children, but most of these look at problems from the perspective of one or both spouses. Popular literature in particular has emphasized the problem of the new spouse who "inherits a family," without really focusing on the relationships among stepsiblings. Strangers in the House focuses on the children of these marriages-both stepsiblings and half-siblings and the relationships among them and with their parents. It is a report on how they are faring, drawn from the results of original research by the author: case studies of stepfamilies, interviews with stepsiblings and half-siblings, a survey of members of the Stepfamily Association of America, and participation in three stepfamily self-help groups.
The result is a vivid portrait of nontraditional family constellations that provides an overview of changes in American families, the increased divorce and remarriage rates, and how stepfamilies differ from other families. Beer identifies major problem areas in stepsibling relations and shows how youngsters are adapting to these special situations. He examines classic rivalries over love, attention, space, and property and shows how these are worked out within these special circumstances. The book concludes with an overview of the dynamics of sibling relations in these special families and analyzes how the stepsibling subsystem fits into the larger family structure. Beer shows that in many respects the problems of these families characterize changes in the social structure in postindustrial society.
|Publisher:||Taylor & Francis|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)|
About the Author
William R. Beer was deputy chairman of the sociology department at Brooklyn College and, before that, worked for the New York City Planning Department. Some of his other works include American Stepfamilies and Househusbands: Men and Housework in American Families.
Table of Contents
1 Stepfamilies in Contemporary American Society 1
2 Sharing Parental and Stepparental Affection (and Almost Everything Else) 23
3 Revolution in the Ranks: Changes in Birth Order and Age Order 51
4 Sex, Love, and Hostility: What Happens Between Opposite-Sex Stepsiblings? 63
5 The Birth of a Half-Sibling: Boon or Bane? 93
6 Conclusion: The Sociology of Stepsiblings 127
Name Index 141
Subject Index 143