Stepfamilies: History, Research, and Policy, Volume 2

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Psychology Press, 1997 - Family & Relationships - 328 pages
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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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Contents

Introduction
1
Stepfamilies in 1984 and TodayA Scholarly Perspective
19
Confronting Nuclear Family Bias in Stepfamily Research
41
StepFamily Variations
71
How Society Views Stepfamilies
85
Stepfamilies from the Stepfamilys Perspective
107
Stepfamily as Project
123
From Stepfamily
135
Stepfamily Therapy from the Clients Perspective
191
Current Knowledge About Child Abuse in Stepfamilies
215
Stepfamilies from a Legal Perspective
231
Guidance
249
Stepfamily Policy from the Perspective of a Stepfamily
265
Family Life Education Programs for Stepfamilies
281
A Comparison
301
Index
317

Stepfamilies from Siblings Perspectives
153
The Stepparent Role from a Gender Perspective
177

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About the author (1997)

Levin is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Oslo College in Oslo, Norway.

Sussman is UNIDEL Professor of Human Behavior Emeritus at the College of Human Resources at the University of Delaware.

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