This nonjudgmental, inclusive, and far-reaching text focuses on the diverse patterns of family structure prevalent in our society today. Family Diversity presents empirical research on the internal dynamics, social environments, support factors, prevalence of discrimination, and common stereotypes that account for the issues surrounding current family relations. By examining the history and nature of foster and adoptive, single-parent, lesbian/gay, step- and grandparent family units, Pauline Irit Erera is able to challenge both the idealized family prototype and the hegemony of the traditional structure.
Chapter 5: Stepfamilies
Stepfamilies are created by marriage or cohabitation following the divorce or the death of a spouse. The stepfamily comprises the remarried or cohabiting couple and the children of each partner from the previous relationships, as well as a network of relatives, or quasi-kin (Bohannan, 1970). These include the former spouses, the former parents-in-law, the spouses of former spouses, and the families of origin (Messinger, 1984). This complexity, the disruption of previous family constellations, and the addition of new members poses unique challenges. Stepfamilies are a thriving family structure that offers the potential for satisfying the developmental needs of both children and adults.
Historical Background and the Social-Cultural Context
Although stepfamilies have existed throughout history, the causes for remarriage and the structure of stepfamilies have changed in ...