The Boys and Girls Book About Stepfamilies

Practical Advice for Parents, Children, Stepparents, and Stepchildren


  • Definition of a stepfamily
  • Worries children have when a parent remarries
  • What to call a stepparent
  • How to get along better with a stepparent
  • How to get along better with stepsiblings and halfsiblings

Dr. Richard A. Gardnerís The Boys and Girls Book About Divorce is standard reading for children of divorce. Its companion volume, The Parents Book About Divorce, enjoys similar popularity among separating and divorced parents. Therapists consider his Psychotherapy with Children of Divorce to be the definitive work in the field of psychotherapy with these children. The Boys and Girls Book About Stepfamilies complements these earlier publications well.

The book begins with a discussion of the word step and its unfortunate connotation of cruel and mean. This leads into the issue of what to call a stepparent. The concept of love between stepparents and stepchildren is dealt with, with particular emphasis on the fact that real love must be earned and must grow with time.

Suggestions for reducing the anger problems that inevitably arise in stepfamilies are provided. Loyalty problems are discussed with particular emphasis on ways to reduce feelings of disloyalty. Special techniques for getting along better with stepsiblings are presentedówith particular focus on sharing, compromise, and communication. Other issues include: discipline and punishment, visitation, adoption, sensitivity to the rights of others, parentsí living together without being married, half siblings, and the two-parent family vs. the single-parent family.

The Boys and Girls Book About Stepfamilies should prove equally valuable to children, parents, and stepparents. The issues raised in it serve as points of departure for meaningful family dialogue. It brings comfort, understanding, and immensely practical advice. Attractive illustrations by Alfred Lowenheim complement the text and bring a unique richness to this important book.

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