- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Da Capo Press (May 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1569244944
- ISBN-13: 978-1569244944
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,361,199 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Truth about Stepfamilies: Real American Stepfamilies Speak Out Paperback – July 22, 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Minneapolis-based journalist O'Connor has translated eight years of personal experience as a stepmother plus in-depth reporting among stepfamilies across the country into a lucid guide to the labyrinthine family dynamics that result from divorce and remarriage. "The work of creating a well-functioning stepfamily is the hardest thing" that people in these reinvented families say they have ever done, O'Connor writes. With this helpful and sympathetic volume, she aims to help stepfamilies struggling with issues such as creating boundaries between immediate stepfamilies and "outer" (original) families, negotiating family roles, raising children in separate homes, disciplining children in a stepfamily, and dealing with feuding adults and money-related strife. Many of her highly readable chapters weave in anecdotes that illustrate suggested coping strategies; others begin with a list of the dramatis personae, followed by a brief ethnography of a specific family system, with each family member's point of view represented. As divorce and remarriage rates continue to soar, this guide should be valuable to a broad spectrum of Americans negotiating new family structures.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“[O’Connor’s] readable and insightful what-to-expect info outlines the typical developmental stages of stepfamilies and how many of them achieve peace.”
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I recommend "The Truth About Stepfamilies" to those who want a readable, realistic overview and 'report from the field' from eight real American stepfamilies. I don't recommend it to readers who seek to understand and avoid - or resolve - the core problems that cause widespread stepfamily discontent and re/divorce in our country. If unseen or ignored, the core problems prevent average co-parents and supporters from following well-meant advice such as author O'Connor and her interviewees offer.
The real stepfamily examples O'Connor provides are representative and instructive. However, the book omits five core hazards that every stepfamily faces:
1) co-parents' psychological wounds from low-nurturance chldhoods;
2) blocked grief in adults and kids, and how to reduce it;
3) adult unawareness of five key topics: (a) human personality formation and function, (b) high-nurturance families and relationships, (c) effective communication skills, (d) healthy 3-level grief, and (e) stepfamily realities and norms.
4) needy, love-struck unaware partners choosing the wrong people to re/wed, for the wrong reasons, at the wrong time; and
5) little effective stepfamily help available in most communities and the media.
Anyone considering getting into -- or out of -- a stepfamily should read this.