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  1. #1
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    Default The Cinderella Effect

    "In the classic fairytale, Cinderella's nasty stepmother treats her like a lowly servant, all the while showering rewards and affection on her two evil daughters. Sadly, the real world resembles the cruel fairytale."

    "Children living with a stepparent are 40 times more likely to suffer physical abuse than those living with two genetic parents, with much of the abuse coming from the stepparent. Even more shocking are the data on homicides. Although murders of small children are rare, children living with a stepparent are 40 to 100 times more likely to be killed!" Kenrick and Griskevicius, "The Rational Animal"

    1. Why do divorcees pick such assholes for spouses?
    2. Why doesn't the genetic parent protect the kid from the stepparent?
    3. What can be done and what should be done to remedy the problem?
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    "In the classic fairytale, Cinderella's nasty stepmother treats her like a lowly servant, all the while showering rewards and affection on her two evil daughters. Sadly, the real world resembles the cruel fairytale."

    "Children living with a stepparent are 40 times more likely to suffer physical abuse than those living with two genetic parents, with much of the abuse coming from the stepparent. Even more shocking are the data on homicides. Although murders of small children are rare, children living with a stepparent are 40 to 100 times more likely to be killed!" Kenrick and Griskevicius, "The Rational Animal"

    1. Why do divorcees pick such assholes for spouses?
    2. Why doesn't the genetic parent protect the kid from the stepparent?
    3. What can be done and what should be done to remedy the problem?
    Divorcees don't necessarily pick assholes, but someone who doesn't have a genetic connection to the child in question isn't affected by kin selection and the associated altruism. They are therefore less likely to show restraint in a situation of conflict. As for why the genetic parent can't protect the child, that's kind of a rhetorical question...generally the children live with one of the partners, and communication is not always that great. I know about this because my aunt recently divorced her husband, and the extended family has got involved due to trust money, hedge funds et cetera...

    The way to remedy this problem is to just made it harder to get a divorce. That might just make marriage look more attractive to young men as well.

    I am unaware of any politician who has the sack to suggest something like that though.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Alea_iacta_est's Avatar
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    If we assume that divorce is the cause of a particular family splitting up, the biological child might be a constant reminder to the stepparent that there is someone else who had (or might still have) feelings for the divorcee somewhere. I would imagine the closer that the other divorcee remains to the child, the higher the tension between the stepparent and the child.

    Also, the biological child, especially if there is a frequent presence of its other parent in their life, might find difficulty in accepting paternal or maternal dominance asserted by the stepparent and would probably be the source of frequent argument, which might be regarded by the divorcee as something that needs to be worked on between the two alone (or rather, together) without its intervention.

    Ergo, the closer the separated parent is to the biological child, the more the biological child might symbolize a possible threat (varying in actual accuracy) to the stepparent's relationship to the divorcee, and when this factor is combined with a steadfast biological child who does not accept the paternal or maternal assertion by the stepparent, then this proves to be a rather tense situation all around.

    Then, after all of that, you have to take into account the personality of the stepparent to even further the probability of some degree of violence, such as the need for control, a quick temper, impatience, and degrees of empathy and mutual understanding.

    I have no idea how this might be remedied.

  4. #4
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    The least intrusive measure I can think of would be treating the new non biological parents like standard adoptive parents, including mandatory counselling for a certain period.

  5. #5
    deplorable basketcase Tellenbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kullervo
    Divorcees don't necessarily pick assholes, but someone who doesn't have a genetic connection to the child in question isn't affected by kin selection and the associated altruism.
    From an evolutionary biology standpoint, helping a relative is almost as good as helping yourself (since the relative shares common DNA) and behaviors that improve the chances of passing your DNA are selected for. The authors call this "inclusive fitness".

    Quote Originally Posted by Alea_iacta_est
    I would imagine the closer that the other divorcee remains to the child, the higher the tension between the stepparent and the child.
    There might be some resentment at having to support someone else's kid. It's unfortunate that these issues aren't worked out before the marriage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy
    The least intrusive measure I can think of would be treating the new non biological parents like standard adoptive parents, including mandatory counselling for a certain period.
    I was thinking of a massive public education campaign to make people aware of the problem.
    Senator Rand Paul is alive because of modern medicine and because his attacker punches like a girl.

  6. #6
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    I was thinking of a massive public education campaign to make people aware of the problem.
    Nice. I think the parents most likely to do shit will also have a bigger willingness to rationalize their behavior, though I guess it would be useful information for the biologial parent to be aware of.

  7. #7
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    And yet if the biological parent wasn't complicit, the abuse could not occur. One fundamental problem we have in society is the disbelief that a biological parent can actually not love nor wish to protect their own child. The fairytale is that all mothers love their children. No, they don't. And yet the revelation to outsiders that your parent does not love you, and in fact holds hostile intentions towards you, is met with such vehement denial that getting help is often impossible. It is only when a child is able to present with visible, physical signs of harm that they may find someone who will listen and even then the system is impossibly slow to act. In the meantime the child bears the brunt of that parents anger. Familial abuse of children is only [seemingly] rare because most of it goes unreported.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tellenbach View Post
    From an evolutionary biology standpoint, helping a relative is almost as good as helping yourself (since the relative shares common DNA) and behaviors that improve the chances of passing your DNA are selected for. The authors call this "inclusive fitness".
    That goes with what I was saying.

    The step-parent is not affected because he/she has no biological connection to the child.

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