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Fieldnotes

Step/family Drama and the Prosecution of Tonya Craft

Published by Wednesday Martin
She accused her ex' wife of being inappropriate with her kids. Then she was slapped with charges of child sexual abuse.
She accused her ex' wife of being inappropriate with her kids. Then she was slapped with charges of child sexual abuse.


Tonya Craft, a Georgia kindergarten teacher, was accused of sexually molesting three young girls — including her own daughter. What role did an acrimonious divorce and remarriage, plus tension over custody of her two kids, play in her prosecution? Read my latest post for Psychology Today...and leave a comment!


Sadomasochistic Reenactments: Are You Trapped In One?

Published by Wednesday Martin
Stepmothers frequently find themselves on the wrong side of power. Some may be trapped in a sadomasochistic reenactment.
Stepmothers frequently find themselves on the wrong side of power. Some may be trapped in a sadomasochistic reenactment.


You might know from reading my blog and/or my book that I tend to look to sociology, human behavioral ecology, history, and even literary theory when I'm trying to explain what happens in stepfamilies and why women with stepkids think, feel, and act the way we do. I don't think psychology alone can adequately explain our culture's deep suspicion of and antipathy toward stepmothers. And I don't believe that we can "fix" a stepmother's situation by exploring her feelings in isolation, or focusing on what she alone is bringing to the table. Stepfamily systems are complex, everyone plays a role in the difficulty that often reigns, and too often, a stepmother who is demonized by the kids and her husband or partner as "the problem" feels herself further demonized by therapy that focuses on "her issues," as if those issues are not linked to actual dysfunction within the couple and stepfamily.


Tell Me About It...

Published by Wednesday Martin

If you are a woman with stepchildren who has experienced physical violence in your household at the hands of your stepchild or adult stepchild, or know someone who is, I would like to hear from you for research purposes. I also encourage you to find support so that you can feel and be safe in your home.


Push Comes to Shove: When Stepchildren Get Violent

Published by Wednesday Martin

While researching my book Stepmonster, I interviewed a number of women from all walks of life who described being on the receiving end of aggressive and even violent behavior from teenage and young adult stepchildren. They described not just nasty verbal attacks but shoves, pushes, and in more than one cases, slaps and punches, usually in the context of a "showdown" when the stepmother demanded better treatment or an end to disrespectful behavior, asserting herself as an adult authority in the household. In many instances, the woman's husband or partner was actually in the home (but not in the room) when her stepchild got physical with her. These women were not describing protracted altercations, and were not in serial heated disputes with stepchildren; nor had anyone who described it to me ever been physically violent with a stepchild or child herself. In short, none of these women had a history of being physically violent or in physically violent relationships. And none of them were "mixing it up" with stepkids on a regular basis in any way or returning the shoves, pushes, and more. These blows came out of the blue, in a charged situation, shocking and humiliating them.


Fatal Misstep: the Murder of Kenzie Houk

Published by Wednesday Martin

The February 20th murder of Kenzie Houk has been described as a horrifying, incomprehensible, and shocking tragedy. Understandably so. Houk was 26 years old, eight months pregnant, and lying asleep in bed at the time she was shot in the back of the head. How can it be, many wonder, that the accused killer is Jordan Brown—her fiance’s eleven-year-old son?