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Stepfather-Stepson Communication

Social Support in Stepfamily Worlds


Jonathan Pettigrew

This book offers a novel analysis of communication in stepfather-stepson relationships and is one of the first to examine the ways stepfathers communicate and to integrate the perspectives of adolescents into research on stepfamily communication. In order to understand the complex dynamics of stepfamilies, Jonathan Pettigrew presents six case studies of different families. They are written as engaging narratives – including interviews – that offer flavorful accounts of family members and their relationships with each other. Pettigrew then looks across cases to identify, describe, and examine patterns of stepfather support. This book builds upon current understandings of stepfamily life by providing a descriptive and heuristic model of supportive stepfather-stepson communication, making it valuable for those who study and work with families.
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Chapter Six. The Weliver Family


← 63 | 64 → • CHAPTER SIX •

The Weliver Family

The Weliver family respects the autonomy of its members and expects from everyone responsibility, self-management, and honesty. Stepfather Karl Weliver works as a maintenance supervisor and program coordinator for a popular production venue. His job requires his presence on site many evenings of the month, but as a supervisor he has some flexibility to join his family for dinner. Karl is married to Kara Weliver, his third wife. They have been together for three years. She works eight to five as administrative assistant for a nonprofit center. Ten-year-old Evan Brown is Kara’s only biological son. He enjoys playing with a variety of toys, working on projects, and playing video games. Evan buses to and from a nearby elementary school. Fred Weliver, 17, also lives with the family. A junior in high school, Fred is Karl’s biological son by his first marriage and, like his father, is interested in auto mechanics. Kim Weliver, Karl’s biological daughter by his first marriage, lives and attends college in a city about an hour’s drive from the family household. Karl also has an 11-year-old son by his second marriage who he sees very infrequently, only about two or three times per year.

The relational culture of support in the Weliver family is one where Karl has fun with Evan and involves him in as many projects as possible. Karl also teaches Evan, through participation, how to tinker.

Role of the...

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