“Divorced Families” Book
Meeting the Challenge of Divorce & Remarriage
by Constance Ahrons and Roy Rodgers
After divorce a family does not cease to exist; the marital relationship may have ended, but the family relationships continue, particularly if there are children involved. Emphasizing the divorce is a normative developmental process, this book looks at how the nuclear family reorganizes itself as “binuclear” from both sociological and psychological perspectives.
The Binuclear Family Study has identified four groups among divorced spouses—“perfect pals,” “cooperative colleagues,” angry associates,” and “fiery foes.” In presenting these types the authors point out factors that cause difficulties for divorcing families, as well as those that make divorce a functional, rather than dysfunctional, process. The perspective is a positive one—yes, there is turmoil, pain, and disruption for family members in the transitions of separation, divorce, and remarriage, but for most there is also personal growth, as well as the discovery of untapped strengths and enriched family relationships.
Families at different life-cycle stages—those with young children, childless couples, and mid-life and aging couples—are seen as facing different challenges as they move through the process of separation, divorce, and remarriage. With each transition the authors focus first on the stresses and necessary coping strategies for families with children and then consider the implications for families at various points in the family career.
The final chapter suggests ways that mental health professionals and policymakers, as well as society as a whole, can support and strengthen binuclear families.
Students, family theorists, and clinicians will welcome this comprehensive, normalizing view of the separation-divorce-remarriage transition.
Published by W.W. Norton, New York, softcover, 260 pages, ISBN 9780393306224