The Children Involved Have Undergone Early Losses
Children experience the initial loss of the intact family—be it due to divorce (95 percent are) or death—as a volcanic upheaval, inevitably bringing deep grief and fears of abandonment in its wake. A striking example of a child’s bitterness and sorrow appears in chapter 4, my interviews with the Jamisons. Abbie Jamison’s son, Rob, became upset and rejecting toward both his mother and stepdad when Abbie’s remarriage required a move clear across the country and a separation from the boy’s loving grandparents, cousins, school, and friends.
Furthermore, the subsequent marriage is very likely to arouse a conflict of loyalties. The children of remarriage are often assailed by the guilty feeling that harboring liking—or even outright loving—feelings for the “replacement parent” is a betrayal of the “real,” biological parent (in reality or in memory if that parent has died).