Centered but not caught in the middle

Stepchildren's perceptions of dialectical contradictions in the communication of co-parents

Dawn O Braithwaite, Paige W. Toller, Karen L. Daas, Wesley T. Durham, Adam C. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The researchers adopted a dialectical perspective to study how stepchildren experience and communicatively manage the perception of feeling caught in the middle between their parents who are living in different households. The metaphor of being caught in the middle is powerful for stepchildren and this metaphor animated their discourse. A central contribution of the present study was to understand the alternative to being caught in the middle and what this alternative means to stepchildren. Reflected in the discourse of stepchildren is that to feel not caught in the middle is to feel centered in the family. Stepchildren's desire to be centered in the family was animated by the dialectic of freedom-constraint, which co-existed within the contradictions of openness-closedness and control-restraint. These contradictions are detailed in the analysis, along with advice to parents from the perspective of stepchildren. Implications for the interaction of stepchildren and their parents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-55
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

Fingerprint

stepchild
parents
communication
Communication
metaphor
discourse
Discourse
dialectics
interaction
Household
Restraint
Dialectics
Openness
Interaction

Keywords

  • Communication
  • Relational Dialectics
  • Stepchildren
  • Stepfamilies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

Cite this

Centered but not caught in the middle : Stepchildren's perceptions of dialectical contradictions in the communication of co-parents. / Braithwaite, Dawn O; Toller, Paige W.; Daas, Karen L.; Durham, Wesley T.; Jones, Adam C.

In: Journal of Applied Communication Research, Vol. 36, No. 1, 01.02.2008, p. 33-55.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{18c9f58ec0184832aea24423ae920f85,
title = "Centered but not caught in the middle: Stepchildren's perceptions of dialectical contradictions in the communication of co-parents",
abstract = "The researchers adopted a dialectical perspective to study how stepchildren experience and communicatively manage the perception of feeling caught in the middle between their parents who are living in different households. The metaphor of being caught in the middle is powerful for stepchildren and this metaphor animated their discourse. A central contribution of the present study was to understand the alternative to being caught in the middle and what this alternative means to stepchildren. Reflected in the discourse of stepchildren is that to feel not caught in the middle is to feel centered in the family. Stepchildren's desire to be centered in the family was animated by the dialectic of freedom-constraint, which co-existed within the contradictions of openness-closedness and control-restraint. These contradictions are detailed in the analysis, along with advice to parents from the perspective of stepchildren. Implications for the interaction of stepchildren and their parents are discussed.",
keywords = "Communication, Relational Dialectics, Stepchildren, Stepfamilies",
author = "Braithwaite, {Dawn O} and Toller, {Paige W.} and Daas, {Karen L.} and Durham, {Wesley T.} and Jones, {Adam C.}",
year = "2008",
month = "2",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/00909880701799337",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "36",
pages = "33--55",
journal = "Journal of Applied Communication Research",
issn = "0090-9882",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Centered but not caught in the middle

T2 - Stepchildren's perceptions of dialectical contradictions in the communication of co-parents

AU - Braithwaite, Dawn O

AU - Toller, Paige W.

AU - Daas, Karen L.

AU - Durham, Wesley T.

AU - Jones, Adam C.

PY - 2008/2/1

Y1 - 2008/2/1

N2 - The researchers adopted a dialectical perspective to study how stepchildren experience and communicatively manage the perception of feeling caught in the middle between their parents who are living in different households. The metaphor of being caught in the middle is powerful for stepchildren and this metaphor animated their discourse. A central contribution of the present study was to understand the alternative to being caught in the middle and what this alternative means to stepchildren. Reflected in the discourse of stepchildren is that to feel not caught in the middle is to feel centered in the family. Stepchildren's desire to be centered in the family was animated by the dialectic of freedom-constraint, which co-existed within the contradictions of openness-closedness and control-restraint. These contradictions are detailed in the analysis, along with advice to parents from the perspective of stepchildren. Implications for the interaction of stepchildren and their parents are discussed.

AB - The researchers adopted a dialectical perspective to study how stepchildren experience and communicatively manage the perception of feeling caught in the middle between their parents who are living in different households. The metaphor of being caught in the middle is powerful for stepchildren and this metaphor animated their discourse. A central contribution of the present study was to understand the alternative to being caught in the middle and what this alternative means to stepchildren. Reflected in the discourse of stepchildren is that to feel not caught in the middle is to feel centered in the family. Stepchildren's desire to be centered in the family was animated by the dialectic of freedom-constraint, which co-existed within the contradictions of openness-closedness and control-restraint. These contradictions are detailed in the analysis, along with advice to parents from the perspective of stepchildren. Implications for the interaction of stepchildren and their parents are discussed.

KW - Communication

KW - Relational Dialectics

KW - Stepchildren

KW - Stepfamilies

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=38349146535&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=38349146535&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/00909880701799337

DO - 10.1080/00909880701799337

M3 - Article

VL - 36

SP - 33

EP - 55

JO - Journal of Applied Communication Research

JF - Journal of Applied Communication Research

SN - 0090-9882

IS - 1

ER -