Sylvie Cadolle

Being a Step-parent The Recomposition of the Family Preface by Irène Théry. Publication date : June 1, 2000

More than one million children in France live permanently or occasionally with a step-parent. What place does a step-parent hold in the family of a child whose parents are divorced or separated? What role does he or she play? This is the first French investigation into the relations between step-parents and step-children that allows both the adults and the children to freely express themselves. Is it sufficient to know how to love in order to succeed in reconstructing a family? What are the tensions and pain caused by the forced sharing of intimacy between a child and a step-parent who did not choose each other? Can fathers successfully exercise their authority from a distance, even if they have only occasional contact with their children? Should step-parents really feel obliged to treat step-children as if they were their own, while avoiding the trap of trying to replace the absent parent? How do children in this situation react? Which family unit do they consider as their real family? Does plural-parenting exist?
Sylvie Cadolle reviews the current trends in families.

Sylvie Cadolle teaches philosophy and educational sociology at a teachers' college in Creteil, near Paris.