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Delgado, S. (2003). Stepparenting: Creating And Recreating Families In America Today, Edited by Stanley H. Cath, M.D., and Moisy Shopper, M.D. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2001, 346 pp... Psychoanal Q., 72(4):1052-1057.

(2003). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 72(4):1052-1057

Stepparenting: Creating And Recreating Families In America Today, Edited by Stanley H. Cath, M.D., and Moisy Shopper, M.D. Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, 2001, 346 pp..

Review by:
Sergio Delgado

The literature regarding divorce has for many years focused primarily on what is in the best interest of the children. There has been much debate about the impact of parental divorce on the lives of children. Wallerstein believes that divorce has long-lasting consequences on the children's self-esteem, consequences that linger into adulthood. Conversely, Hetherington feels that the evidence favors children's development into overall well-adjusted adults, despite growing up with divorced parents. Gradually, attention has been given to the psychological effects of divorce on the parents, as well as to the adult's capacity to parent after the dissolution of the marriage. In contrast to the mental health field, the court system has seemed more receptive to viewing the parents' struggles during painful divorce proceedings as nonpathological. It has become common to see judges awarding joint custody. Although some believe this is because it is difficult for judges to know which parent is the more suitable, and because of the desire to avoid the risk of the “unfavored” parent's alienation from the children and the court (i.e., in refusing to pay child support), the practice of awarding joint custody was actually spearheaded by guardians ad litem who recognized the psychological needs children have to maintain contact with both parents, despite inherent conflicts.

Most of us are familiar with the challenge that child psychoanalysis has faced to gain acceptance. One often hears the opinion

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1 Goldstein, J., Freud, A. & Solnit, A.J. (1986). Before the Best Interests of the Child. New York: Free Press.

2 Wallerstein, J.S. (2000). The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce. New York: Hyperion.

3 Hetherington, E.M. (1987). Family relations six years after divorce. In Remarriage and Stepparenting: Current Research and Theory, ed. K. Pasley & M. Hinger-Tallman. New York: Guilford.

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