Helping Stepdads Adjust

Stepfathers often get a bad rap. Communication is a key to their becoming good parents, a new study says. Photo courtesy of msnbc.com.

Stepfathers often get a bad rap. Communication is a key to their becoming good parents, a new study says. Photo courtesy of msnbc.com.

A key to making sure stepfathers succeed as parents is to ensure all members of the household, including children and teens, have a say in how the new family will be structured, according to research from the Brigham Young University School of Social Work.

The research was highlighted in this e! Science News article.

One third of American children will grow up with a stepparent but very little is known about the relationships between stepfathers and children, according to Brigham Young University Social Work Professor Kevin Shafer.

Shafer and graduate student Todd Jensen analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of 1,088 children in stepfamilies. They found that children often do not think their voices are being heard.

“Family roles can be negotiated and there is going to be some bumpiness,” Shafer said. “The notion that couples should put the couple first and everything else will fall into place is false.”

The National Association of Social Workers offers members an array of cutting-edge research. To subscribe to Social Work Research or purchase other NASW books and journals visit the NASW Press website. And to read more about how social workers help strengthen families visit NASW’s “Help Starts Here” Kids and Families website.

Social Workers Speak

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