Divorce and remarriage have a profound effect on the parents and can have harmful effects on the future relationships of their children. Marriage is a complicated and an arduous process with many trials. However, remarriage and the concept of a stepfamily is akin to walking barefoot on hot coals. The dynamics of a stepfamily is dictated early by the fantasies and the subsequently the realities of the marriage and stepfamily issues.
In The Fantasy of the Perfect Mother, Nancy Chodorow and Susan Contratto call this “primary process” thinking. It means acting on fantasies and emotions rather than analyzation and interpretation. A marriage involves primary process as people fall in love and subsequently the realities of the hardship of marriage hits them. However, this process dominates a remarriage even more. Individuals entering into the remarriage are confident that they can make a marriage work. However, the result is that these remarriages fail at a greater percentage rate than those that occur the first time around. This situation is complicated even more if there is presence of children from previous marriage of the spouse. This “thinking process” is learned by the children inhabiting a stepfamily and then dominates their thought and actions into adulthood. A remedy of this situation is for the stepfamily to undergo this thinking process and to emerge with stronger and healthier relationships as a result of this ordeal.
The fantasies and misconceptions enveloping a family are illustrated in Nancy Chodorow and Susan Contratto’s “Fantasy of the Perfect Mother.” In the article, the authors present feminist theories and concepts that attack the idea of motherhood. Some of them present the belief that a mother can never b...
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...n, the stepparent can employ secondary process thinking to advance the construction of the stepfamily. However, if the stepparent continues to remain disjointed by his or her initial emotional or idealistic response to the harsh realities of remarriage, the stepfamily is doomed for a spectacular failure.
Beers, William. "Relative Strangers"
Berkin, Carol. "Making America: A History of the Unites States Volume a to 1877"
Fisher, John and Emily. "Stepfamilies: Myths and Realities", Secaucus, New Jersey: Citadel Press, 1984.
Nancy Chodorow and Susan Contratto. "The Fantasy of the Perfect Mother"
Pasley, Kay and Marilyn Ihinger-Tallman. “Remarriage and stepparenting: current research and theory”
Rosin, Mark Bruce "Stepfathering"
Wallerstein, Judith, Julia M. Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee. "The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce", Hyperion.
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