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   Home  > Books

Making and Breaking Families

By Jill Curtis

Review

Making and Breaking Families looks at the many new combinations which have come to constitute a family at the end of the twentieth century. No longer can the assumption be made that a couple wed, have children and stay together. The UK is the divorce capital of Europe. As families split up and re-group, other patterns become established. Step families are formed, half brothers and sisters are born, and parents with children from second marriages are sometimes torn between divided loyalties. But other families proliferate: families where the grandparents have become parents of their children's children; families where one or both parents are gay or lesbian, with custody of a child from a previous relationship; 'double' families where perhaps a father shares his time between two families. This book tries to address some of the issues and questions arising from this quite profound social change. For much of the book the issues are addressed through the words of the many women and men to whom the author talked, as they describe what happened when their marriages broke, and how their new families emerged, sometimes through great difficulties. Often these new families do not at all resemble what used to be generally perceived as A Family, but such families can and do offer the kind of closeness, love and support which we have traditionally associated with family life. The book closes with guidance to the many professionals who might find themselves counselling or giving guidance to families as they go through a demanding period of transition.

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