Step-family formation is a process and is in no way an “instant family.” It is a system attempting to balance and bring two different systems together that will be able to work and communicate effectively and hopefully become a cohesive, new system. This is no small task; as some of you may know first hand and/or someone you know. And yet this does not stop people from trying, actually thousands of couples do every year. As our text pointed out, Dr. Cherlin refers to remarried families as incomplete institutions lacking “cultural scripts” that provide guidelines of how to do … basically “family life.” In short, there is a lot of gray when it comes to stepfamilies and this can lead to stress and tension. Lets discuss!

Please consider and answer the following:

  • Do you think Dr. Cherlin’s assertion that remarried/stepfamilies are an “incomplete institution” because they lack social scripts that would assist the family in coming together and assuming roles and responsibilities is still relevant and carries a measure of truth even decades after he made this observation and why?
  • As you read over the chapter and reviewed relevant course materials, what were some of the main issues or challenges that stood out to you concerning stepfamily dynamics?
  • When the chapter addressed stereotypes and stigmas, what is your perspective–what do you think shapes our views of step-families?

Moreover, based on what we learned from the chapter and even your own experiences and observations…

  • What do you think would help stepfamilies as they form a new family system (e.g., identity, communication, the formation process, roles, ect.)?
  • Furthermore, what suggestions would you propose that would assist us as a society in helping stepfamilies? Do not hesitate to speak from personal experience.

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