Blended Families

Topics: Family, Stepfamily, Cinderella effect Pages: 6 (1911 words) Published: March 15, 2014

Effects of Living in a Blended Family vs. Non-Blended Family Araseli Solorio
Eastern Washington University

The role of a step child is not the same as the biological children for the parents. Stepparents tend to not give the attention their step children need. Also, they might abuse their step children by maltreating them. Being in a stepfamily environment can affect the children as they grow older. Each and every year there are more children experiencing their parents’ divorce and living in a stepparent family. If a child is maltreated as they grow older they may elicit criminal and antisocial behaviors. It is predicted that children who are exposed to a stepfamily environment are more at risk to juvenile offending, nicotine dependence, sexual risk taking, and other types of negative behavior. Although the results from my research did not support most of what other researchers have found. We did find support on sexual risk taking.

Effects of Living in a Blended Family vs. Non-Blended Family
There has been much research done on children growing up in stepfamily environments and not all results were the same. Some researchers have found evidence that girls are less well-adjusted than boys in parental remarriage and in other cases the opposite was reported, where boys were less well-adjusted than girls (Nicholson, & Fergusson, 1999). There have been other studies focused on the stepparents and have found that they are more depressed than non-stepparents which is affecting the children since they do not put much attention to them as they normally should (Dunn, & Deater-Deckard, 1998). In the 1960’s almost 75% of all children were living with their biological parents and married to each other (Dawson, 1991).stepparent Dunn and Deater-Deckard (1998) mentioned that the stepparents are more depressed than non-stepparents. There is no actual reason for why that is, but this causes the depressed stepparent more likely to not respond sensitively to the children’s needs. In this case the parents will not monitor effectively the behavior of their kids. The kids will begin to notice when this is happening which might be one of the causes of the children’s negative behavior. Children will begin to behave differently at home and school. This may lead to more freedom and less adult supervision for the child. If the child is in their teens they might begin to skip school and start falling behind in their school work. Other studies have researched that stepparents show less concern than the biological parents. Parents that show low degrees of parent love towards a step child should be more likely to abuse the child. Having a stepparent increases the risks for a child to be abused in any way, shape, or form. This can be explained by the kin selection theory, also known as the Cinderella effect (Temrin, Nordlund, Rying, & Tullberg, 2011). When children do not get the attention and care they need, they begin to fall behind socially and academically as well. This not only affects the child’s mental health but their future to dream and to continue their education. Child maltreatment may lead to criminality in general when they grow older. In a study done it was concluded that “…severe maltreatment of children is often associated with other criminal and antisocial behavior, both inside and outside the family” (Temrin et al., 2011). This means that if children grow up being maltreated whether they are in a stepfamily environment or not they are more likely to commit a criminal activity and have antisocial behavior. Having said that, children that are exposed to stepparents they are more likely to have been maltreated; therefore, they are more likely to be involved with criminal and antisocial behavior. Children being exposed to living in a stepfamily between the ages of 6 and 16 are more at risk to juvenile offending, nicotine dependence, abuse or dependence on illicit substances, leaving school, early onset of...

References: Bray, J. H. (1999). Stepfamilies: The intersection of culture, context, and biology. Monographs Of The Society For Research In Child Development, 64(4), 210.
Dawson, D. A. (1991). Family structure and children 's health and well-being: Data from the 1988 National Health Interview Survey on Child Health. Journal Of Marriage & Family, 53(3), 573-584.
Dunn, J., & Deater-Deckard, K. (1998). Children 's Adjustment and Prosocial Behaviour in Step-, Single-parent, and Non-stepfamily.. Journal Of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 39(8), 1083.
Nicholson, J. M., & Fergusson, D. M. (1999). Effects on later adjustment of living in a stepfamily during childhood and adolescence. Journal Of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 40(3), 405.
Temrin, H., Nordlund, J., Rying, M., & Tullberg, B. S. (2011). Is the higher rate of parental child homicide in stepfamilies an effect of non-genetic relatedness?. Current Zoology, 57(3), 253-259.
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