THE STEPFAMILY by Elizabeth Einstein


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Unlike some of the other stepparenting books, this offers a decent-size core of information--much of it overlaid, regrettably, by choked-up personal reminiscences. A stepchild herself, Einstein has stepmothered two separate broods of kids, in addition to raising two sons of her own. She knows about the resentment that can build when stepchildren feel your own kids are benefiting from an unequal division of labor; about the good feelings that can accrue when all the children are included in wedding festivities (not just invited to attend); and about the confusion of identity that results, for example, from an oldest or youngest child becoming a ""middle"" child overnight. She offers some of the same generalized advice that others get around to sooner or later: don't try to take the original parent's place; don't use the kids as pawns; keep your expectations realistic; and present a united front to the children (they soon catch on if they can set parent against stepparent). But she's also more attuned than most to the ""fragile foundation"" of the reconstituted family: because ""its very existence is due to death or divorce,"" all concerned are anxious--or even terrified--about a recurrence. But Einstein's sensitivity to the issues also precipitates much agonizing over her own mistakes: how could she have tossed her teenage stepdaughter out on her ear? Why did she go through with having her own sons take their stepfather's name--only six months after their biological father had died? This may foster serious thinking here and there, but it's primarily appropriate for solace.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1981
Publisher: Macmillan