A Review of The Literature
Cartwright (2010) found that couples who re-marry after divorce can often be led to that decision by the need for an intimate relationship and the benefits they receive from that relationship. The need for financial means also brought some to the decision that they would cohabitate before re-marrying. Cartwright also came to the conclusion that while a lot of the participants in the study were aware of the possible difficulties of becoming a blended family, most of them did not talk to one another about certain parenting issues such as discipline and rules. Most of the participants also did not discuss how they would handle this change for the children involved in the two families that were blending. Cartwright says that these findings supported earlier research that suggested that couples who are blending their families often avoid talking about difficult issues so as to avoid conflict. What Percentage of Households Have Blended Families?
Studies have shown that about 9% of married couple households and 11.5% of households where the parents are living together but not married, have stepchildren who live in the home. (Teachman & Teadrow, 2008) A survey done, called the HILDA survey, showed that 13% of households in the third wave of the survey, have stepchildren that either live in the home or do not and on some occasions both. A longitudinal study was done and indicated that out of the 1265 people involved in taking the study, 18.6% of them had lived in a stepfamily between the ages of 6 and 16 years old. This study included participants where the household was either remarried or cohabitating. (Nicholson, Fergusson, & Horwood, 1999). Many stepfamilies find challenges that make it very difficult to have normal functional interactions amongst its’ members. What Areas of Concern Are There for Children in Blended Families?
Through research studies on blended families there seems to be a much greater risk of negative outcomes for children that are part of a blended family, as opposed to other children around BLENDED FAMILIES
them who are from a first time marriage. (Amato, 2000; Bray, 1999: Hetherington & Kelly, 2002). When researchers have done studies on stepfamilies post-remarriage, they have found out very little about how the couple prepares themselves and their families before they re-marry or move in together to live as a whole family unit. There are a couple exceptions. A study done in 1989 in the US was conducted specifically to find out what couples do to prepare themselves and their families for a re-marriage. (Ganong & Coleman, 1989). More recently than that a study was done in Britain that questioned both the mothers and the stepfathers to find out what it was they did, if anything, to prepare prior to the re-marriage. (Smith & Robertson, 2008) The findings were that many re-married quickly and did not discuss what each other’s role would be when it came to parenting. (Ganong & Coleman, 1989; Robertson, 2008; Smith, 2008). Evidence appeared that showed there was very little, if any, help given to the children to help them with the transition into this new family life. (Robertson, 2008). How Common is Re-Marriage?
Research shows that almost 20% of Americans are divorced and remarried. It has become increasingly common over time. Stepfamilies are becoming the fastest growing family unit. (Berger, 1995; Walsh, 2003b). Studies estimate that one in every two couples in the United States will divorce (Derma, 1999). What Are the Legal Ramifications of a Blended Family?
Legal battles can become very expensive and are very complicated. Centuries ago, it was said that the children “belonged” to the father and so when a marriage ended, the children would stay with the father (Knibiehler, 1995). This was due large in part to the father having to financially support, educate and protect his children much...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document