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Becoming an Adult Stepchild

Adjusting to a Parent's New Marriage

Pearl Ketover Prilik, D.S.W.

  • ISBN 978-0-88048-870-9
  • Item #8870

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For many adult stepchildren, the marriage of a parent is a complicated situation fraught with emotional difficulties as the existing family structure is reshaped through the introduction of new members and the realignment of familial roles and relationships. A parent's marriage and the upheaval it generates can also mobilize long-buried feelings within adult stepchildren, including anger, betrayal, resentment, and a sense of deprivation.

Until now, the millions of adult stepchildren have not had a resource to help them address the psychological issues they face in this situation. Written by an expert with substantial experience in stepfamily life, Becoming an Adult Stepchild: Adjusting to a Parent's New Marriage provides invaluable advice on how to examine the underlying issues and feelings engendered by a parent's marriage and use this knowledge to reduce the inherent tension in this situation. In a caring and supportive manner, Dr. Prilik also urges readers to take advantage of the golden opportunities hidden in their parent's marriage, including

  • Initiating positive personal growth
  • Reconciling with an estranged parent
  • Reconnecting with a parent in ways that may enhance closeness with him or her
  • Making changes or taking risks to improve their lives
  • Learning how to cope with uncertainty and change

    Dr. Prilik begins each chapter by posing a few questions on specific subjects and situations that challenge readers to examine their feelings, attitudes, and behavior toward their parent's marriage. She then explores the underlying conflicts brought about by these particular circumstances and provides numerous vignettes to illustrate typical adult reactions to a parent's remarriage. She also offers many suggestions on how readers can reduce the tension and acrimony that can develop during this transition.

    Armed with this awareness and practical advice, adult stepchildren can build more satisfying relationships within their new family structure and use this unique opportunity for profound personal growth.

  • Contents

    • You, Your Parent, and Marriage.

      Introduction. Why would your parent want to marry—now? Making sense of the complex web of childhood emotions. Why you don't like your parent's spouse: reasons you may not expect. Feeling discarded: when your parent no longer seems to need you. Here comes the bride: you and your parent's wedding day. Is your parent competent to decide to marry?

      You, Your Parent, and Your New Stepfamily.

      Adding a new branch to the family tree. Family rituals: when two families' traditions collide. My mother's pin, my father's watch: who gets the family heirlooms? Conclusion. Index.

    About the Authors

    Pearl Ketover Prilik, D.S.W., is a psychotherapist with private practices in Garden City and Lido Beach, New York. She is also a postdoctoral student in psychoanalysis at the Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies in Garden City, New York.

    [J]ust knowing that other adults whose parents are remarrying also share a wide range of emotional reactions ambiguity, relief, disappointment, jealousy, and feelings of disruption and loss—can make this a worthwhile investment. In her examination of the underlying conflicts and tensions that result when parents of adult children decide to marry, Prilik has added a dimension not often considered in the current, heady reshaping of American families.—Michigan Family Review

    Astonishing in content, well-thought out, and well-organized, Prilik's intense look at the emotions of an adult stepchild will be welcome to all practitioners who work with stepparenting issues. . . . Sensitive, yet direct, the text conveys enough insight to make the book a must for all the generations involved in the blended family, and for all practitioners who work with marital and family issues.—Readings: A Journal of Reviews and Commentary in Mental Health

    Through a thoughtful exploration of emotions while adjusting to life as an adult stepchild, Ms. Prilik confirms, 'You are not alone,' and weaves together a vision of what adult children need to move toward as well as what they need to move away from in accepting the new family order.—Margorie Engel, President,Stepfamily Association of America, Author of Weddings for Complicated Families: For Couples with Divorced Parents and, Those Planning to Remarry, Boston, Massachusetts

    Becoming an Adult Stepchild is comprehensive, warm in tone, and eminently practical. I know because I am about to be married (next month) and recognize several of the issues Prilik raises and discusses in our four children who range in age from 19 to 39. This is a useful book!—Jane Marks, Author of We Have a Problem: A Parent's Sourcebook

    Dr. Pearl Prilik has written a timely, well-conceived, informative book. Her style is clear, interesting, and extremely helpful. The lessons taught are lightened by one's sense of the twinkle in the author's eye. Becoming an Adult Stepchild: Adjusting to a Parent's New Marriage is a must read for all those having to deal with hazards and pitfalls of being an adult stepchild.—Lorelle Saretsky, Ph.D., Director Postdoctoral Psychotherapy Center, Garden City, New York

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