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Like a parent and a friend, but not the father: a qualitative study of stepfathers' experiences in the stepfamily

L Blyaert, Hanna Van Parys (UGent) , J De Mol and Ann Buysse (UGent)
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Abstract
Research about the experience and position of stepfathers in stepfamilies is scarce. Using data from semi-structured interviews with eight stepfathers, we aim to explore how stepfathers experience family life and their relationships with their (step)children and extended family members (biological father and grandparents), as well as how they describe their position within the stepfamily. Interpretative phenomenological analysis revealed three main themes: most participants saw themselves like a parent and a friend.' While none of them considered themselves as the father' - this position being assigned to the biological father - they described acting like a parent or a father figure in their relationships with the children. Secondly, despite some difficulties in the initial stages of formation of their new families, most participants described a positive evolution over time and were satisfied with their current family situation. Thirdly, the stepfather's positioning towards non-cohabiting family members such as the biological father and grandparents added complexity but was managed well. Research findings are discussed in light of the current family therapy literature on working with stepfamilies.
Keywords
parent-child relations, stepfathers, qualitative research, stepfamilies, CHILDREN, REMARRIAGE, family therapy, divorce, FAMILY

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MLA
Blyaert, L et al. “Like a Parent and a Friend, but Not the Father: a Qualitative Study of Stepfathers’ Experiences in the Stepfamily.” AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY 37.1 (2016): 119–132. Print.
APA
Blyaert, L., Van Parys, H., De Mol, J., & Buysse, A. (2016). Like a parent and a friend, but not the father: a qualitative study of stepfathers’ experiences in the stepfamily. AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY, 37(1), 119–132.
Chicago author-date
Blyaert, L, Hanna Van Parys, J De Mol, and Ann Buysse. 2016. “Like a Parent and a Friend, but Not the Father: a Qualitative Study of Stepfathers’ Experiences in the Stepfamily.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 37 (1): 119–132.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Blyaert, L, Hanna Van Parys, J De Mol, and Ann Buysse. 2016. “Like a Parent and a Friend, but Not the Father: a Qualitative Study of Stepfathers’ Experiences in the Stepfamily.” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy 37 (1): 119–132.
Vancouver
1.
Blyaert L, Van Parys H, De Mol J, Buysse A. Like a parent and a friend, but not the father: a qualitative study of stepfathers’ experiences in the stepfamily. AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY. HOBOKEN: WILEY-BLACKWELL; 2016;37(1):119–32.
IEEE
[1]
L. Blyaert, H. Van Parys, J. De Mol, and A. Buysse, “Like a parent and a friend, but not the father: a qualitative study of stepfathers’ experiences in the stepfamily,” AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 119–132, 2016.
@article{7241826,
  abstract     = {Research about the experience and position of stepfathers in stepfamilies is scarce. Using data from semi-structured interviews with eight stepfathers, we aim to explore how stepfathers experience family life and their relationships with their (step)children and extended family members (biological father and grandparents), as well as how they describe their position within the stepfamily. Interpretative phenomenological analysis revealed three main themes: most participants saw themselves like a parent and a friend.' While none of them considered themselves as the father' - this position being assigned to the biological father - they described acting like a parent or a father figure in their relationships with the children. Secondly, despite some difficulties in the initial stages of formation of their new families, most participants described a positive evolution over time and were satisfied with their current family situation. Thirdly, the stepfather's positioning towards non-cohabiting family members such as the biological father and grandparents added complexity but was managed well. Research findings are discussed in light of the current family therapy literature on working with stepfamilies.},
  author       = {Blyaert, L and Van Parys, Hanna and De Mol, J and Buysse, Ann},
  issn         = {0814-723X},
  journal      = {AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND JOURNAL OF FAMILY THERAPY},
  keywords     = {parent-child relations,stepfathers,qualitative research,stepfamilies,CHILDREN,REMARRIAGE,family therapy,divorce,FAMILY},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {119--132},
  publisher    = {WILEY-BLACKWELL},
  title        = {Like a parent and a friend, but not the father: a qualitative study of stepfathers' experiences in the stepfamily},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/anzf.1138},
  volume       = {37},
  year         = {2016},
}

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