ERIC Number: ED278878
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Nov
Sibling and Stepsibling Bonding in Stepfamilies.
Bronfenbrenner's ecological model--consisting of the microsystem (setting in which the child experiences reality), the mesosystem (relationships between settings), the exosystem (situations impacting the child's development), and the larger, encompassing macrosystem--serves as the basis for a theory of sibling and stepsibling bonding. Although attention focuses on the microsystem level, the theory accounts for the mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. Mesosystem functions include quasi-kin relationships and home-"other" parents' home relationship. Exosystem influences include the legal system on custody and visitation; macrosystem influences deal with accepting or unaccepting environments. Parental divorce jeopardizes established family behavior patterns. After divorce, adjustments must be made. Because parenting under these situations will become less adequate, an opportunity exists for sibling bonds to become more intense. This theory attempts to explain the conditions under which children develop bonds with stepsiblings when their parents remarry, or conversely, why stepsibling bonding is inhibited after remarriage. How children build attachments to new stepparents and bond with the strangers who become their brothers and sisters are critical factors in the successful functioning and longevity of the remarriage. Six pages of references are provided. (ABL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations (Dearborn, MI, November 3-7, 1986).