1. The book begins with a few statistics and observations about stepmothers. Which one of those surprised you the most, and why? (10 points)
2. What does the author have to say about “relatedness”?
Part 1 – The Stepmothering Script
3. “Nobody wants a stepmother.” “Nobody wants to be a stepmother.”
What are your thoughts on those statements? (10 points)
4. Define “simple stepfamily” and a “complex stepfamily” (found in a later chapter):
5. Define “role ambiguity”:
6. Define “affinity-seeking behaviors”:
7. Define “intimate outsider”:
8. What are the four step-mothering types as described in the book? In what style would you put yourself, or someone you know? (10 points)
9. Chapter 2 describes the influence of fairy tales and stepmother scripts. We’ve all read or heard of Snow White and Cinderella, and the negative portrayal of stepmothers. What about more recent books, TV shows or movies? Do they continue to promote the same attitude, or has there been a change? Give examples. (10 points)
Part II – Remarriage Realities
10. The stepchild’s most potent incantation is: (hint: “You are not………”)
11. Explain why “blended” has become an inappropriate term to use for stepfamilies:
12. What is your opinion on the myth that “all women should love all children all the time”? For example, compare this statement to your own experience as a step parent, or someone you know. (10 points)
13. What does the book recommend on the “timing of remarriage”, and why?
14. According to the book, in what ways do finances become issues in a remarriage?
15. What is meant by the term “disengaging”?
16. According to the book, in what ways can a husband/father help or hinder the stepmother’s role?
17. Define “lack of institutionalization”:
18. In what ways can the addition of a “mutual child” help or hinder the stepfamily?
19. What is “conflict by proxy”?
20. What are Gottman’s Four Horsemen?
21. What is Gottman’s five-to-one ratio?
22. Define “co-parenting”:
23. Define “parallel parenting”:
Part III – Sociobiology (no questions)
I find this section informative, but not really along my line of thinking, although science, biology and psychology do intertwine. There are some interesting concepts and thoughts in this section, so I encourage you to read it and form your own opinion.
Part IV – Risks and Rewards
(Chapter 10 covers issues that will be discussed further in the book “When Your Parent Remarries Later in Life”. But, we will review a few issues anyway.)
24. Define “ruminative thinking”:
25. What are some of the issues that adult children experience when a parent remarries (page 252):
26. What is meant by “role strain”?
27. What is meant by “stepmother depletion”?
28. What is your opinion of this book? (10 points)
For myself, having been through both the difficulties and rewards of being a stepmother, I found the book useful in that the author is very up front about discussing challenging issues. Sometimes she seems too negative. But I appreciate some of the hard logic she uses. I wish I would have had a book like this many years ago!