Among the Children, a Generation Gap Divorce and Remarriage Result in Many Families That Include Half Siblings a Childhood Away in Age

By Pamela Cytrynbaum Of The Chicago Tribune | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), December 18, 1996 | Go to article overview

Among the Children, a Generation Gap Divorce and Remarriage Result in Many Families That Include Half Siblings a Childhood Away in Age


Pamela Cytrynbaum Of The Chicago Tribune, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


THERE IS NO precise word for what 35-year-old Mark Lanyon is to 10-year-old Emily Richman Lanyon.

"He's in between a brother and an uncle," figured Emily, an Evanston, Ill., fifth grader. "He gives me piggyback rides and I like hanging on him. It's weird that we have the same father, isn't it?"

Technically, they are half-brother and sister. But they look more like father and daughter or uncle and niece. And they act like some hybrid of all those relationships, lots of tickling, tackling, the occasional disciplinary tone, all cemented by a connection that is unmistakably family. But what exactly are they? Multi-generational half siblings? Wide-age-gap half siblings? "I guess I'm a distant brother," said Lanyon, a remodeling contractor who exists in the friend/sibling/playmate/parent limbo inhabited by many adult children of divorce who have young brothers and sisters. It is a relationship even the experts have not yet defined. "This is uncharted territory, a real frontier," said Judith Wallerstein, among the country's leading divorce researchers. "These are the new relationships in American life, and we don't have a name for them because none of the conventional words work anymore. To just call it `sister, brother, half sister,' is not to grasp what they really entail." The divorce boom of the late 1970s and early 1980s - and the steady 50 percent failure rate for first marriages - triggered an endless array of studies on stepfamilies and blended families, the failure rate of second marriages, the stepmother-adolescent relationship and post-divorce co-parenting. But there has been little exploration of the relationships between half siblings with large age gaps. So where does everyone fit? While a younger half brother or sister's devotion and charm can lure an older sibling into the new family, it is not easy watching one's father so earnestly trying to do it right the second time around. "I'm glad he had a second chance. And my relationship with the kids couldn't be better. I feel like I've never left childhood because there's always someone playing games in the house," said Mackenzie Stanley, 20, an architecture student at the University of Illinois who spent the summer with her father, stepmother, 18-year-old brother, 4-year-old half sister and 9-year-old half brother in the Chicago area. "But it's also hard to live in the house and watch it. You feel like you're walking on needles because they're this nuclear family and you're just leftovers. They love us, but it's different," she said. A key to healthy relations between children of family A and B is that the parent left behind, usually mom, finds ways to permit the new relationships to form, said Frances Stott, dean of academic programs at the Erikson Institute in Chicago. "The other parent must give permission to the older children for their relationships with the new ones to flourish," she said. Indeed, one of the most difficult aspects of these relationships is the older siblings' sense of loyalty to the other parent, especially if he or she has not remarried. "To my little brother and sister, my mother is this mystery person," said Mackenzie Stanley. "It makes me sad that I can't share my mom with them because I love her so much." Such multi-generational families are becoming increasingly common, said Constance Ahrons, director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Southern California. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Among the Children, a Generation Gap Divorce and Remarriage Result in Many Families That Include Half Siblings a Childhood Away in Age
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.