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Although a great deal has been written about the development of children, the mother-child relationship, and the differing psychologies of women and men, the study of fathers, fathering, and fatherhood has, until very recently, been virtually ignored. Fathers and Their Families redresses this situation with original contributions covering fathering and fatherhood in their interacting psychological, familial, and social dimensions. In 28 chapters and extensive editorial commentary, the editors and their contributors explore the changing roles of fathers - changes prompted partly by societal shifts and partly by changes in the family and in "traditional" parental roles.
The broad questions that guide the editors and contributors could not be more timely. Among the topical studies contained in this collection are illuminating examinations of fathers as single parents, readiness for grandfatherhood, transition to fatherhood, father-daughter relationships, and father-son relationships. Chapters involving ruptured families, divorce and fathers, and the treatment challenges of working with fathers, will be of special interest to clinicians of various backgrounds and orientations.
Throughout this volume, the emphasis is less on intrapsychic and dyadic relationships than on the total family system and the intrafamilial, intergenerational, and societal forces that shape paternal behavior. In this ranging , systematic approach, Fathers and Their Families speaks to the concerns of clinical social workers and family therapists. But it will also be enormously helpful to psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, and clinical psychologists, for whom it can be depended upon to broaden the vision, and thereby enlarge the context, that informs individual psychotherapy. For developmental psychologists, students of the family, and clinicians alike, it promises to be a revelation, a lifting of the blinders that for centuries have sustained that most sacrosanct of icons, the father.