Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Divergent Realities: The Emotional Lives of Mothers, Fathers, and Adolescents by Reed Larson and Maryse H. Richards

Academic journal article Family Relations

Book Reviews -- Divergent Realities: The Emotional Lives of Mothers, Fathers, and Adolescents by Reed Larson and Maryse H. Richards

Article excerpt

Larson, Reed, and Richards, Maryse H. (1994). Divergent Realities: The Emotional Lives of Mothers, Fathers, and Adolescents. New York: Basic Books. 333 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-465-01662-6, price $26.00.

The "angry white male" does not have that much to be angry about. Reading between the lines, this is the conclusion I came to in reviewing Larson and Richards' book Divergent Realities. The authors conclude that many problems in the family begin with fathers: "Thus dads in these families appeared to draw on their life at home to take care of their emotional needs, but to distance themselves from the emotional needs of other family members" (p. 194).

The authors point out that even dysfunctional families can be functional for fathers but not for mothers and adolescents. Describing what helps families function better, they indicate that when fathers deviate from their gender role norms and relate as equals to their wives and children, negative cycles of exchange are stopped.

Conclusions in this book are based on empirical research with members of 55 families. The family members studied (father, mother, early adolescent) were predominantly middle and working class suburbanites of European origin. Family members carried beepers for a week and were randomly contacted during the day, at which point they indicated what they were doing, with whom, and what they were feeling. …

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