Book Reviews -- Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development Edited by Adele Eskeles Gottfried and Allen W. Gottfried

By McKenry, Patrick C. | Journal of Marriage and Family, May 1995 | Go to article overview

Book Reviews -- Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development Edited by Adele Eskeles Gottfried and Allen W. Gottfried


McKenry, Patrick C., Journal of Marriage and Family


Redefining Families: Implications for Children's Development. Adele Eskeles Gottfried & Allen W. Gottfried (Eds.). New York: Plenum. 1994. 200 pp. ISBN 0-306-44559-X. $34.50 cloth.

The conventional family with the father as sole provider and the mother as full-time homemaker is demographically very much in the minority today. Yet this traditional family type continues to serve as the foundation for understanding children's development. Traditional views of childrearing are being challenged by the increasing number of family structures and arrangements at variance with this idealized conventional family. By integrating what is in many cases a very limited literature, Gottfried and Gottfried and their collaborators examine the relationship between these nontraditional family structures and children's development. Legal and social implications of the research findings are also addressed.

The chapters in this book cover six family variations: primary caregiving fathers in intact families, dual-earner families, single-parent families, lesbian mothers, gay fathers, and custodial grandparents. These chapters provide insightful reviews and analyses of the literature and, in some cases, present original data. Each chapter presents a reformulation and redefinition of the parental role, addressing the biases and negative assumptions regarding differing family arrangements. In addition, an introductory chapter presents the societal context, including salient demographics, for these recent changes in family structure; a concluding chapter draws implications for research, theory, and policy.

Although the primary focus of each chapter is child outcome as a function of nontraditional family structure, attention is also given to the parental role, the parent-child relationship, and the larger ecological context. Across the chapters, children range in age from infants through adolescents, and a broad range of developmental outcomes have been included (e.g., achievement, sex role development, affect).

The editors remain neutral in terms of making evaluative comments regarding the viability or strength of any family form. …

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