Smith, William C.
April 1945
American Sociological Review;Apr45, Vol. 10 Issue 2, p237
Academic Journal
Evidently the stepchild has received the treatment accorded by tradition to this hapless creature; the subject has been ignored and neglected by writers who range all about it but do not touch it. A check of the periodical "Child Development Abstracts" through 1943 yielded two articles and they were published in Germany. The idea prevailing in folklore is that in the end retributive justice is meted out to the cruel stepmother, while the stepdaughter, despite harsh treatment, emerges from the ordeal with angelic whiteness. Facts, however, do not support these generalizations. Often a stepmother is crowned with success when, realizing that she faces a difficult situation, sets about to deal with it in an intelligent manner. The step-relationship often seems to be a factor in juvenile delinquency. According to certain data, the presence of a step-parent is a more potent factor in the delinquency of girls than of boys. Conclusions relative to delinquency and the stepchild, however, must be drawn with caution, as there are more factors conducive to delinquent behavior in his home situation than in that of any other child.


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