New Beginnings: Single-Parent Families, Remarriages, and Blended

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					New Beginnings: Single-Parent
Families, Remarriages, and Blended
Families

   Chapter 14




                                     1
Chapter Outline
   Single-Parent Families
   Binuclear Families
   Remarriages
   Blended Families
   Stepparenting




                             2
Single-Parent Families
   Created by divorce, births to unmarried
    mothers, or the death of a spouse
   Usually female headed
   Many single-parent homes actually contain
    two cohabiting adults, one of which is the
    parent
         These can include homes headed by lesbians and
          gay men.
     These families are often economically
      disadvantaged
                                                           3
Single-Parent Families
     Births to Unwed Mothers
         Single-parent families created by births to unwed
          mothers are more common than those created by
          divorce
         These families receive little social support.
     Headed by Mothers (sometimes fathers)
         Over 85% of single-parent families are headed by
          women.
         Given the gender discrimination in wages and jobs,
          single mothers are much more likely to be in
          poverty than are single fathers.

                                                               4
Single-Parent Families
     Ethnicity
         African American single-parent families are more
          likely to be in poverty than are Hispanic or
          Caucasian families.
     Poverty
         Female-headed single-parent families are
          disproportionately represented among those in
          poverty.
     Diversity of Living Arrangements
         Single-parent families need greater flexibility with
          child care and housing arrangements.

                                                                 5
Single-Parent Families
     Diversity of Living Arrangements
       Single-parent families can take many forms
        including the parent’s outside romantic
        partner or live-in partner.
       Social Father – a male relative, family
        associate, or mother’s partner who
        demonstrates father-like behavior
       Private Safety Nets – support from social
        networks that they can fall back on in times
        of financial need
                                                       6
Single-Parent Families
     Transitional Form
         Single-parent families tend to be a
          transitional family form that can precede
          marriage or occur after divorce.
     Intentional Single-Parent Families
         Some women who have not found a
          suitable partner will intentionally become
          single-parents.


                                                       7
Lesbian and Gay Single Parents
    Lesbians and gay men may have become parents in a
     previous heterosexual relationship or using donors,
     artificial reproductive technologies or by adopting.
    The lack of marriage rights in the majority of states
     leaves gay men and lesbians as legal single parents
     even though there is likely to be a partner present.
    Children in these relationships only have one legal
     adoptive or biological parent; second-parent adoptions
     are rare.




                                                              8
Children in Single-Parent Families
     Research has found some negative outcomes for
      children in single-parent families such as behavioral
      problems, academic performance, and mental and
      physical health.
     Children may need to cope with their parent’s
      loneliness, depression, and increased stress.
     Possible positive outcomes include a child learning
      more responsibility, spending a large amount of time
      with their custodial parent, and feeling less pressure to
      conform to normal gender roles.



                                                                  9
Successful Single Parents
     Accept responsibilities and challenges for
      single-parenthood.
     Parenting as first priority.
     Consistent, non-punitive parenting
     Emphasis on open communication
     Fostering individuality supported by the family
     Recognition of the need for self-nurturance
     Dedication to rituals and traditions


                                                        10
Single-Parent Family Strengths
     Ability to take on expressive and instrumental
      traits.
     Growing as a person by accepting the
      changes in his/her life.
     Good communication skills can develop trust
      and a sense of honesty.
     Coordinating all of the family’s activities is a
      normal daily occurence.
     Persons may develop the ability to be
      financially self-sufficient.
                                                         11
Binuclear Families
   The binuclear family consists of two nuclear
    families—the maternal nuclear family headed
    by the mother (the ex-wife) and the paternal
    one headed by the father (the ex-husband).
   These families include both single-parent
    families and stepfamilies.
   Former Spouses as Co-Parents
         Ex-spouses must put aside any anger and
          resentment felt during the divorce and focus their
          energy on working together to raise their children.

                                                                12
Binuclear Families
     The Remarried Family
        A remarried couple must navigate the complexities
         of married life while also considering the ex-
         spouse.
     Parent-Child Subsystem
        A former single parent must renegotiate their roles
         as they incorporate a new adult into parenting their
         children.
     Sibling, Half-Sibling, and Step-Sibling Subsystem
        Children must accept one another as family and
         share the attention of their parent.

                                                                13
Recoupling
    Courtship differs between first marriages and
     remarriages.
        Courtship may trigger old wounds, fears, or regrets
         but the partners may have more realistic
         expectations for this relationship.
  Many divorced persons choose to cohabit with
   their partner before remarriage or in place of it.
  Single parents, however eager they are to find
   a new partner, their children usually remain
   the central figure in their lives.

                                                               14
Remarriage
   Remarriage
      A marriage in which one or both partners have previously
       been married.
   Men tend to remarry at higher rates than women.




                                                                  15
Remarriage
    Children lower the probability of marriage for both men
     and women but even more so for women.
    Initiators are more likely to remarry than non-initiators.
    Women’s odds of remarrying decrease as they age
     due to the cultural association of youthfulness with
     attractiveness and their likelihood of being mothers.
    Women and men who are employed and socialize with
     coworkers are more likely to remarry than those who
     are not.




                                                              16
Characteristics of Remarriage
     Marital Satisfaction
         People seem to be as satisfied in second marriages
          as they do in first yet divorce is more likely in
          second marriages.
         Remarriages are “incomplete institutions” (Cherlin,
          1981)
         They lack societal social norms and behavioral
          prescriptions.
         Remarriages are subjected to different stresses
          than are first marriages.
         These include children from previous relationships.
                                                                17
Blended Families

    Commonly referred to as
     ‘stepfamilies,’ these
     families consist of two
     adults and their children
     attempting to blend into
     one fully functioning
     family.




                                 18
Blended Families
    Structural Differences
       Almost all members have lost an important
        relationship
       One biological parent typically lives outside the
        family.
       The relationship with the parent and his/her
        children pre-dates the relationship between the new
        spouses.
       Stepparent roles are ill-defined and lack models.
       Many children are also part of a non-custodial
        parent’s household.
       Children also have at least one extra set of
        grandparents.
                                                          19
Blended Families
    Developmental Stages
       Early Stages
          Fantasy Stage – new stepparents expect to
           instantly love and be loved by their stepchildren
          Immersion Stage - Reality sets in

          Awareness Stage – Each family member must
           understand that their family has changed.
       Middle Stages
          Mobilization – Family members recognize
           differences and openly resolve conflict.
          Action – The family takes steps in recognizing
           themselves as a family.
                                                               20
Blended Families
    Later Stages
      Contact – The relationships between family
       members become genuine.
      Resolution - The family becomes solid and
       is no longer characterized by earlier
       troubles.




                                                    21
Stepparenting
    Women
        Research indicates that stepfamily life is more difficult for
         women than for men due to the cultural expectations for
         women as parents and caregivers.
        Due to the likelihood of contact with the children’s
         biological mother, child rearing becomes very difficult for
         the stepmother.
    Men
        Fathers are not as likely to have custody of their children.
         This can result in guilt that they are not parenting their own
         children.
        Stepfathers tend to have more limited and less positive
         relationship with their stepchildren.
        Parental claiming – embracing stepchildren as if they
         were biological children
                                                                          22
Stepparenting
    Children
        Children in stepfamilies have a higher risk of
         having behavioral, psychological, and
         academic problems.
    Conflict
        Favoritism, or preferring one child over others
        Divided loyalties can force children to take
         sides against one that they love
        Discipline can be difficult to manage among
         biological and non-biological parents.
        Money, goods, and services can be divided
         unequally among family members.
                                                           23
Strengths of Stepfamilies
     Family Functions
        Stepfamilies can successfully fill traditional family
         functions (i.e. love, support, socialization, etc.)
     Benefits for Children
        Additional role models and exposure to new ideas

        Gain the extra support of a stepparent and step- or
         half-siblings
        Gain an extended kin network

        Improved economic situation

        Happily married parents



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