This article discusses the challenges that family members face when encountered with divorce, particularly in relation to the major transformations that occur. The article also focuses on two theoretical perspectives to include solution-focused therapy and structural family therapy. Authors chose to center attention on low-conflict divorce in that its effects are more impactful to members. The article gave a detailed breakdown of both therapy models and also explanation of how both models could be integrated into clinical practice when working with this population. Emphasis is also placed on variations in articulating the miracle question in efforts for therapist to gain better understanding of ways in which they can improve self confidence and empower parents to work together as co-parents.
There is a significant breakdown of structural family therapy, which includes the models historical context as well as the major tenets when working with divorced families. The redefinition of the family that transpires with new roles and boundaries is greatly emphasized in the text, as well as the challenges that occur when making these changes. The article stresses how impactful the parents transition can be on children. More specifically how perplex changes can be when the parents are unable to transition harmoniously. Additionally mother-run single households are briefly discussed in regards to the relationships between the parent and child, which is stated to often includes a peer like relationship and/or reverse roles in which the child acts as the parent.
The article was informative as it provided a fair amount of information of structural theory as it relates to divorced families. However, in that the article was focused upon variations in the miracle question, other theoretical intervention methods were not discussed. Additionally, the article briefly discussed challenges in parenting within single mother run households, but did not discuss single father households, which may have been useful.
Schulman, G. L. (1981). Divorce, single parenthood and stepfamilies: Structural implications of these transactions. Contemporary Family Therapy, 3(2), 87-112. doi: 10.1007/BF00926706
Schulman discusses the structural changes that occur within the family during and after divorce in addition to the consequent stages that occur with single parenthood. The article opened with a breakdown of the detrimental effects of divorce on the family unit as a whole. The author discussed the grief, sorrow, shame and blame that occur amongst members. Schulman also gives a brief look into how such abrupt disruption to the family structure can influence the usual coping mechanisms of family members and cause disequilibrium. Stepfamilies and blended families were also discussed and the author provided various case examples for these family types. This article provided a comprehensive look into the challenges faced by divorced families with respect to mandatory restructuring.
Schulman also provided detailed information about the alteration in children’s roles and as well as the behavioral changes that may occur with such roles in a single-parent families. The author explained that a child’s role is often reformed in that the absent parents role must be filled, which normally occurs by the children in the home. The author also discussed how the eldest child or the child of the opposite gender often fill these roles and are expected to bear parental responsibilities. The author provided an array of examples throughout the text in efforts to enhance understanding for the reader. Though it would have been beneficial for the author to expand on certain areas within the text such as appropriate interventions to utilize with families.
The author discussed helpful interventions such as drawing boundaries, which would allow roles and positions to be established. However, it may have been helpful to discuss additional “helpful interventions” that could be utilized with these family types. Also, further insight into some of the structural changes that may occur within these families would have been informative as well. Overall this article can assist researchers who are in need of basic information concerning divorced, single parent and blended family types. However clinical interventions will not be obtained for divorced and single parents though are very briefly explained in the case examples for blended/step families.
Biblarz, T. J., & Gottainer, G. H. (2000). Family structure and children’s success: A comparison of widowed and divorced single-mother families. Issue Journal of Marriage and Family, 62(2), 533–548. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2000.00533.x
This article focused on a comparative study of single motherhood by divorce and death of a spouse. The study specifically examined the differences relating to the negative consequences/outcomes within the home and other structural differences. A great percentage of discussion related to variations in social, psychological and education amongst divorced and widowed single mothers. The authors then focused on several theoretical perspectives to include family structure model, household economics model, evolutionary perspectives, parental fitness model, as well as the marital conflict model. There is sufficient information about the observable outcomes of children within these families.
Significant differences were found between the two types of families to include children raised in divorced homes having an increased probability of not completing high school and decreased probability of entering or graduating from college as well as decreased overall happiness in adulthood in comparison to single-mother households produced by death of a spouse. A number of other statistical information is detailed throughout the text as well. Each theoretical perspective/model is briefly explained as it relates to both divorced and widowed single mothers. The authors included insightful details in the comparative differences amongst divorced and widowed single mothers. However, it would have been beneficial for them to refrain from including as many theoretical perspectives as they did in that certain models were thoroughly examined while others were not.
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