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FSW Exam 2 - Chapter 12 Step Family Systems...

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4/7/11 Chapter 12: Step Family Systems Introduction -the high rate of divorce in the US is followed by an equally high rate of remarriage, especially among people who divorce at 25 years of age and younger of all racial and ethnic groups * Characteristics of Remarriage and Stepfamilies -remarriage is more likely to occur if an adult has been divorced rather than widowed -remarriages are considered to be high risk relationships in that there is an even greater change of another divorce taking place -however, those couples who have stable, functional remarriages report having higher satisfaction and greater pride in their new relationship than first marriage couples -Within 3-5 years, two thirds of the people who divorce each year in the US eventually remarry -ethnic group identity influence remarriage rates -more whites tend to remarry than black or Hispanics -stepfamilies are characterized by their diverse nature -cohabitation occurs more commonly for many divorced adults, which is another distinction from that of first marriages -when children are involved, remarriages create a new family system instantaneously without the benefit of gradually adding new members -ex-spouses and ex-grandparents can continue to have input into and influence on the new stepfamily system -wishes and expectations of adult marriage partners may not be fulfilled by the new marriage relationship in the stepfamily system -both children and adults may have mixed feelings of allegiance and guilt that interfere with effective stepfamily system formation -children may not be willing participants in the new stepfamily system -all stepfamily members experience role confusion * Stepfamily Formation -the problems that challenge stepfamily systems are unique: -merging different family cultures and identities as the new system establishes roles and patterns -developing new modes of distributing time, energy, material goods, finances, and affection -establishing new bonds of loyalty to the stepfamily system while learning to manage loyalty bonds to former family systems -dealing with marital conflict and children’s behavior Formation stages 1: Fantasy
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