Children Raised by Stepparents of Term Paper

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These may include the parental workplace, school boards, social service agencies, and planning commissions." (Strengthening the Family: Implications for International Development, nd)

Four: The Macro-system

Macro-systems are 'blueprints' for interlocking social forces at the macro-level and their interrelationships in shaping human development. They provide the broad ideological and organizational patterns within which the meso- and exo-systems reflect the ecology of human development. Macro-systems are not static, but might change through evolution and revolution. For example, economic recession, war, and technological changes may produce such changes." (Strengthening the Family: Implications for International Development, nd)

CHILDREN RAISED by STEPPARENTS

OF DIFFERENT RACE or CULTURE

LITERATURE REVIEW

The work entitled: "Same-Sex Parenting: Results of Some Studies" states: "With the exception of studies at a few universities with very close connections and conservative Christina denominations, essentially all research studies into same-sex parenting reveal that children of these families develop normally. There is some indication that boys are less sexually adventuresome, and that some girls are more sexually daring. There are also anecdotal accounts of children having to endure ridicule, taunting and harassment from other youth because of their parents' sexual orientation." (Same-Sex Parenting: Results of Some Studies, 1998)

In 1997 three studies conducted in the United States, Britain and the Netherlands were presented at the national meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development and in this study a research psychologist from the University of Virginia, Charlotte Patterson stated: "When you look at a kid with standard psychological assessments, you can't tell who has a lesbian parent and who has a heterosexual parent...That's really the main findings from these studies." (Same-Sex Parenting: Results of Some Studies, 1998) Another study is reported in which Fiona Tasker, research at Birkbeck College in the United Kingdom states in her article published in Clinical Child and Psychology and Psychiatry Journal that: "There are an increasing number of children who are being brought up in lesbian-led families. Research on non-clinical samples of children raised in lesbian-led families formed after parental divorce, together with studies of children raised in families planned by a single lesbian mother or lesbian couple, suggest that growing up in a lesbian-led family does not have negative effects on key developmental outcomes. In many ways family life for children growing up in lesbian-led families is similar to that experienced by children in heterosexual families. In other respects there are important distinctions, such as different types of family forms and the impact of social stigma on the family that may influence how clinicians approach therapeutic work with children in lesbian mother families." (Same-Sex Parenting: Results of Some Studies, 1998) the work of Nigel Barber Ph.D. entitled: "Evolutionary Explanations for Societal Differences in Single Parenthood" presents a new research strategy "designed to bridge the gap between evolutionary psychology that operates from the evolutionary past and social science that is bounded by recent history." State to be core assumptions of Barber's work are the following:

1) That modern societies owe their character to an interaction of hunter-gatherer adaptations with the modern environment;

2) That changes in societies may reflect change in individuals;

3) That historical changes and cross-societal differences are due to the same adaptational mechanisms, and 4) That different social contexts (e.g., social status) modify psychological development through adaptive mechanisms." (Barber, 2005)

The work of Barber states that: "Psychological stress in childhood influences adult sexual psychology and behavior in part because it alters brain development." (Barber, 2005) Specifically found to be a stress that alters the brain structure of the child and has the potential to modify the sexual psychology of male and females is poverty. Additionally stated is that: "Parental divorce is an interesting type of childhood stressor in this context because it is more of a middle-class experience in the U.S. For example, not because poor people enjoy stable marriage, but because they are considerably less likely to wed in the first place." (Barber, 2005)

The work of Barbara Bennett Woodhouse entitled: "Defining Family: Adoption Law and Policy Transracial Adoptions: Are you My Mother: Conceptualizing Children's Identity Rights in Transracial Adoptions" published in the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, Spring 1995 states that in the U.S.: "Congress enacted the Multiethnic Placement Act (MPA) Originally designed to avoid delay stemming from reluctance to place children in homes with parents of another race or ethnicity, the MPA has become a battleground from competing visions of individual and group identity and has revived longstanding controversies about what role, if any, children's community of origin should play in adoptive placements." (Woodhouse, 2005) Stated to be missing from the debate is "...a coherent schema for articulating children's rights to preservation of their identity in adoption." (Woodhouse, 2005) Woodhouse relates the fact that the needs of a child for nurturing and protection from harm have been long reflected in the legal norms but increasingly recognized in the legal norms is: "...the importance of children's familial, cultural, and national identities." (2005) it is additionally related in the work of Woodhouse that: "Judith Masson and Christine Harrison have described identity as 'an organizing framework which holds the past and present together providing some anticipated shape to future life." (2005)

It has been acknowledged by modern child development scholars that the role of the larger social order and surrounding cultural environment" has a great role in "shaping and defining identity." (Wood house, 2005) in the case of Palmore v. Sidioti, the U.S. Supreme Court stated in the context of a child custody dispute: "...that the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution precludes courts from considering the effects of racial prejudice, no matter how real, in determining the child's best interest. In Palmore, a judge had removed a white child from her mother's custody reasoning that the child would suffer from the stigma of difference in a black community and from hostility to her mother's interracial marriage." (Woodhouse, 2005) Woodhouse additionally states that: "Listening to children's voices suggest that children who are very young experience their sense of self, family, and community in extremely concrete terms. They identify as their family and draw their own identity from the people who take daily care of them and are their psychological parents. As children mature, however, they begin to define themselves in relation not only to their caregivers, but also to a larger society and history. As they begin to integrate more complex understandings of who they are and how they fit into the world, children themselves and the larger society that surrounds them both take on a greater role in defining them. As a result, biological, racial, and cultural identities take on increasing importance in their development." (2005)

The work of Jim Mahoney entitled: "Racism Issues and Multiracial Families: Attacking Racism Before it Defeats Your Child" was presented at a workshop and focuses on pointing the way "...especially for white parents, in attacking racism before it defeats their children of color." (Mahoney, 1995) Mahoney states that there are six tasks for parents of children of color whether they are adopted or stepchildren which are the tasks as follows:

Management of racism: This involves developing a group of behaviors to counteract and neutralize demeaning, and prejudicial behavior directed towards them by persons of another race or ethnic group. Success and survival depend upon management of racism. Considerable energy is invested in this skill.

Understand your child's behavior reflects on his or her group: When a white person fails, the failure is a reflection of that individual. When a person of color fails, that person fails for the entire group. Failures by persons of color reinforce negative expectations of whites.

Make racist behavior work for you and your children by turning it around and making it work for you. Whites will allow other whites, but not persons of color, to be dysfunctional.

Successful persons of color use protective hesitation. Teach this to your children: Persons of color are very careful with interaction with whites, and anyone they do not know intimately. They are careful about who they self-disclose with. They are careful in asking for help. While many whites will offer assistance gladly, others will use this as a way of defeating their interests.

Teach your children, by modeling, to confront racist behavior by individuals in a way that leaves them with their dignity. If this is not done, racism will dominate white's thinking and behavior.

Teach your children, by modeling, to manage their emotions: White individuals will negatively evaluate persons of color who display uncontrolled emotions, and cannot be expected to be empathic and support their interests." (Mahoney, 1995)

Six principles stated by Mahoney for attacking racism which is stated to be adapted from Dickens and Dickens (1991) are listed as follows:

It must be understood that parents model for other parents and children the best method of managing the racist behaviors of other people. In this context the child…[continue]

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