Children Being Raised by Stepparents That Are Not of the Same Race or Culture Term Paper

Pages: 25 (6876 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 30  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Children

Children Raised by Stepparents

Of Different Race Or Culture

This work in research investigates the inherent problems that exist in families characterized by parents and stepparents of a biracial union, or of a union that is characterized by diversity in terms of ethnicity, cultural, or religious differences or the diverse households headed by lesbian or gay parents. The conceptual framework of this research is the socio-cultural theory of Tharp and the Spheres of Influence as proposed in the work of Epstein. The literature review in this work notes that there is very little subject matter in this area and this study concludes that longitudinal research is critically needed in this subject area for the purpose of gaining an understanding of the challenges faced by these families.




The objective of this research is to examine children that are being raised by stepparents of a different race or culture in terms of the impact upon the life of that child and if the affects were negative or positive upon the child's life.


There are three contexts in which a child's psychological growth is nurtured which are in the context of the family caring for the child; the meaning that culture provides to the child's life; and in the context that the child is connected to the external world through social contacts and resources. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, culture means the following:

CULTIVATION, TILLAGE the act of developing the intellectual and moral faculties especially by education expert care and training <eauty culture>

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4. a: enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training b: acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities, and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational and technical skills

TOPIC: Term Paper on Children Being Raised by Stepparents That Are Not of the Same Race or Culture Assignment

5. a: the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations b: the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also: the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time c: the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization d: the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic

Clearly the word 'culture' for the purpose of this research means the very roots of an individual associated with custom in terms of socialization among individuals and specific traits associated with religious, racial or
social groups of people. This includes daily characteristics in terms of the living patterns and minute details of daily living evidenced in different methods of cooking and food choice as well as what is socially acceptable or socially non-acceptable within a society or specific culture. The work of Bronfenbreener proposes the 'Ecological Model', which is an approach in systemic understanding of the family dynamics, which are stated to be the specific systems as follows:





Each of these will be reviewed in this study. It is the interaction of these systems, which take place within the context of families. The structure of a family is that of mother, fathers and children. It is believed that the two-parent family structure is beneficial to children and that conflicts within the family structure specifically marital conflict results in emotional and behavioral problem in the children which has been shown to cause depression and anxiety, physical aggression and intimacy problems. There is a great adjustment to children when a divorce occurs and this is exaberrated by remarriage of one or both of the child's parents. The result of divorces show in the statistics that 90% of parents who are single are women and generally these women are in the lower-income brackets. Outside support comes from friends, neighbors and a type of extended family system. This situation is considered a better situation for a child to develop within than one in which the parents are constantly fighting or one in which a parent is abusive.

While there are benefits to two-parent families comprised by, the parent and a stepparent there are inherent challenges that exist in relation to the child's reaction to the new parent. The stepparent generally is not as close to the child and a struggle exists related to discipline of the child. There are diverse family structures that exist as well such as gay and lesbian couples who are parenting children, adolescent parents and cohabitating parents. Different styles of parenting are reflected in the warm and responsiveness of parents as well as in the control and discipline methods employed.

The 'Authoritarian' parent is one who conveys very little emotional warmth and hold extremely high expectations in terms of their children's behaviors and establish rules without considering the needs of the child. This parenting style demands obedience without question or explanation and does not allow for a 'give-and-take' communication between the parent and child.

The 'Permissive' parenting style is one that creates a home environment characterized by love and support with little standard-setting of expectations in terms of the behavior of their child whom is rarely punished for inappropriate behavior. This parenting-style allows the child to make many decisions for themselves concerning when to eat and when to go to bed.

The 'Uninvolved' parent provides very little emotional support for the child and has few standards or expectations for the child in terms of the child's behavior and ultimately have no interest in the lives of their children due to being immersed in their own problems. Out of each of these parenting styles arises possible conflict when united with another of the parenting styles. There are many aspects to what affects the child of the diverse possibly combinations of step-families in today's society.


The conceptual framework of this research is based upon the sociocultural theory. One of the features of sociocultural theory is that "teaching and learning are social, not individual activities. Learning takes place when novices and experts work together to solve a common problem or produce a common product. (Rogoff, 1991; Tharp & Gallimore, 1988; as cited in Rueda, 1998) in addition, as basis for this research is the work of Epstein (1995) relates that there are 'overlapping spheres of influence' which include the school, family, and community that directly affects child development. Within all three contexts each of these influence and are influenced by each other. From Epstein's framework and an extensive body of empirical research have emerged six types of involvement:

1) Parenting

2) Communicating;

3) Volunteering;

4) Learning at home;

5) Decision making; and 6) Collaborating with community. (Epstein et al., 2003; as cited in Green, 2003)

Green states that: "One of the major tenets of the theory is that greater collaboration between spheres will results in positive benefits for students, parents, and teachers." (Epstein, 2003; Epstein et al., 2003; as cited by Green, 2003) the work of Brofenbrenner (1979) "placed child development in an ecological perspective" in work that combined "aspects of sociology and developmental psychology and laid an enduring foundation for future approaches. The view of the individual's experience was one as "a set of nested structures, each inside the next, like a set of Russian dolls" (Brofenbrenner, 1979; p.22 cited in Strengthening the Family: Implications for International Development, nd) in the initiative to study the development of a human being one must view "within, beyond, and across how the several systems interact. Brofenbrenner's four systems that interlock and shape the development of the individual are those as follows:

One: The Micro-system

At this level the family enters Bronfenbrenner's framework, but only in terms of its interpersonal interactions with the child. It is the level within which a child experiences immediate interactions with other people. At the beginning, the micro-system is the home, involving interactions with only one or two people in the family ("dyadic" or "triadic" interaction). As the child ages, the microsystem is more complex, involving more people - such as in a child-care centre or preschool. Bronfenbrenner noted that as long as increased numbers in a child's micro-system mean more enduring reciprocal relationships, increasing the size of the system will enhance child development." (Strengthening the Family: Implications for International Development, nd)

Two: The Meso-system

Meso-systems are the interrelationships among settings (i.e. The home, a day-care centre, and the schools). The stronger and more diverse the links among settings, the more powerful an influence the resulting systems will be on the child's development. In these interrelationships, the initiatives of the child, and the parents' involvement in linking the home and the school, play roles in determining the quality of the child's meso-system." (Strengthening the Family: Implications for International Development, nd)

Three: The Exo-system

The quality of interrelationships among settings is influenced by forces… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

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