Research Paper Instructions

For the research paper, you will be synthesizing what you have learned throughout this course and interacting with various scholarships on your chosen topic.

Selecting a Topic:

You can select any topic that is discussed throughout the course, but you will want to select your topic early as many of your assignments throughout the course can be directed to help you develop your research idea. The sooner you select your topic of research, the more time you will have to research and compose your paper.

Researching Your Topic:

You must use at least 8 scholarly sources in your paper, of which 3 must be articles. Your course textbooks may count as 2 of your 8 sources, but be sure that you do not weigh the paper down with information from the textbook. The majority of your research should come from other sources.

The Liberty University Library Database has excellent resources as well, and there are many excellent books published on the topics discussed through this course. (On the flip-side, however, there has been some poor “scholarship” published on these topics, so use discernment when selecting your sources.)

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Writing the Paper:

The body of the final research paper will be 7–8-pages long (not including the title page, outline, or bibliography), focusing on a topic or issue discussed during the course. The paper should very clearly identify your topic and the argument of your paper in a strong thesis sentence, and the rest of the paper should build upon that thesis sentence. Be sure to correctly format the paper in Turabian style. The Liberty University Online Writing Center is a great place to find help if you get stuck or if you have specific questions.

You will need to provide a complete, correctly formatted bibliography of resources with your paper.

Finishing the Paper:

Be sure to edit your paper for clarity of ideas, grammar, spelling, and punctuation before submitting. Submit the paper as a MS Word file.

The completed paper is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 7.

Research Paper Grading Rubric

CriteriaLevels of Achievement
Content 70%AdvancedProficientDevelopingNot present
Topic selection (20 pts.)18 to 20 points Topic is appropriate, current, and drawn from the course materials.14 to 17 points Topic is appropriate and current, and is supported by the course materials.1 to 13 points Topic is marginally appropriate.0 points  
Research sources (40 pts.)36 to 40 points Well researched; more than 8 scholarly sources are utilized to inform and support the paper; more than half of the sources are academic journal articles.28 to 35 points Well researched; at least 8 scholarly sources are utilized to inform and support the paper; at least 3 of the sources are academic journal articles.1 to 27 points Moderately researched; at least 8 sources are utilized to inform and support the paper, but not all or scholarly; fewer than 3 of the sources are academic journal articles.0 points  
Statement and development of thesis (80 pts.)72 to 80 points A clear and cogent thesis statement is given; the outline is coherent and easy to follow; the arguments supporting the thesis statement are presented clearly and logically.56 to 71 points Adequate thesis statement is given; the outline is reasonably coherent and logical; the arguments supporting the thesis statement are presented clearly.1 to 55 points The thesis statement is marginal; the outline is there but lacks symmetry, balance, coherence; marginal to superficial arguments presented; support of the thesis statement is inconsistent.0 points  
Structure 30%AdvancedProficientDevelopingNot present
Length (30 pts.)27 to 30 points Body of the paper is 7-8 full pages.21 to 26 points Body of the paper is 6-7 full pages.1 to 20 points Body of the paper is 1-5 pages.0 points  
Components and Documentation (20 pts.)18 to 20 points Properly formatted title page; properly formatted outline; Turabian style documentation through footnotes; properly formatted and complete bibliography; assignment submitted as Word document.14 to 17 points Title page present; adequate documentation of course materials with minimal Turabian errors; assignment submitted as Word document.1 to 13 points Title page missing or incomplete; significant Turabian errors; assignment submitted in format other than Word.  0 points  
Mechanics (10 pts.)9 to 10 points No errors of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation.7 to 8 points 10 or fewer errors of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation (no more than one per page).1 to 6 points 10-20 errors of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation (no more than two per page).0 points

Blended Family Households

Blended Family Households

            God ordains families to fulfill his commandment. When two people from the opposite sex come together, they become fruitful and multiply in his image. Even though people try to fulfill God’s commandment, some along the way separate or divorce. Often, such relationships sire children who end up being separated from one parent. However, separated persons fetch for solace and get acquaintances, thus resulting in blended families. A stepfamily is hard to manage, but some people find mechanisms of avoiding or solving problems. This paper will explore the effects of favoritism in a stepfamily and the solutions that can be applied to achieve the gods’ plan.

Definition of Blended Family

            A blended family is a union between two people, either having sired children or having child/children from a previous relationship. The union is not influenced by the gender or age of the children. Customarily, stepfamilies face the same problems. Past relationships might have a hand in the problems. Moreover, contributors to the previous relationship’s breakage might rove in the new union, thus causing problems. As a result, each partner might take sides with his/her child. In a blended family, the probability of divorce is very high. [1]As a result, separation leads to a family transition. New unions can be good for lovers, but children suffer despite their innocence.[2] Malachi 2:16 coins that God hates divorce. During the transition period, children suffer a lot because the new mother or father might not be ready to take up the responsibilities because they feel unaccountable.[3] Also, the parental role might increase the abilities leaving some children sidelined.

Why a Healthy Environment for a Step Family Is Challenging

            When parents and their children form another family, they have their fears, assumptions, and expectation from their previous family. Often, parents are apprehensive about whether their children will fit in in the new home. Also, each partner is cautious that their children might be mistreated. There is also the worry that ex-spouses might interfere. As a result, one parent can become overprotective of his/her kids leaving others without parental care. Creating a shared household is very difficult because one parent might think that kids from the other partner are misbehaved or undisciplined. As a result, biasness crops in. it becomes hard to handle child-related issues when one parent thinks that kids from the other are ratchets. Blended families experience children who are raised differently. Children from one side might have experienced parental presence from the previous family but lacked it in the new structure.[4] Spiritual beliefs and interests also contribute to the impression of favoritism. For instance, the father and his children might be outgoing then overlook the new family, citing that they are interested in new life ways.[5] Unhealthy conditions and tendencies can ruin blended families. Usually, parents are grown siblings who take the lead role in pampering the new family. However, they can play a starring role and ensure these problems are dealt with. Failure to practice impartiality leads to revolts within the family, stigma, and dissolution of the union. [6]The objective to make blended families last is not an easy struggle, but that does not mean it is impossible.

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                       How the Number of Step Children Can Cause Favoritism 

            The number of stepchildren is a major contributor to biasness. When the number of stepchildren is very high, parents’ interaction becomes a major concern because it is hard to express impartiality from a significant number. The young children or the “amiable” end up getting the blessings on of the parents while the coy and modest ones feel left out. The sideline children feel that they are not part of the family because they do not get the attention they deserve. Moreover, when one parent finds that his/her child is being left out, retaliation and reprisal results. Habitually, the relationship between a mother or father to a biological child is closer than a stepchild. That said, when one feels that his/her child is being left out, s/he will start favoring the biological child. Such behaviors are detrimental because they sire other problems. Non-biological children end up suffering psychologically.[7] Fights amongst the children can erupt. If the stepparents ignore creating an amicable solution and cultivating impartiality and closeness, the blended family is susceptible to breaking.

Playing Favoritism

Stories in the Old Testament, such as that of Rebekah favoring Jacob, show the adverse effects of taking sides. Such conspiracy led to Jacob receiving parental blessings instead of Esau. The divide within the family resulted, whereby Esau contemplated killing Jacob. After Jacob fled for safety, he married Leah, whom together they sired many sons, but after remarrying Rachel, he favored their son joseph sold by his brothers for took all the parental love. Despite all sons sharing the same father, their mothers and the joseph half-brothers were treated differently. The growing anger made Leah and his sons considered killing joseph. Consequently, sibling rivalry can be caused by parental favoritism. In the contemporary world, the rumble between “yours versus mine” has led to children noticing discerned responsibility, love, and affection from their stepparents. Research coins that many parents find it hard to love stepchildren like they would love their biological children. Favoritism makes stepchildren dejected and unwanted in the new family. Listening to objectivity during wrangles in a blended family is challenging because each parent will favor or protect his/her child. As a result, the problem remains unsolved or becomes more chronic.

Disparity

           Disproportions cause r issues in a blended family. 60% of stepparents are not vigilant about spending the same amount of money or equal time with stepchildren as they would with their biological children. Even though age and interests are vital factors in children’s spending time, each kid deserves time with the parent.[8] Stepparents are fond of spending less on stepchildren’s birthdays. Such behaviors are signs of inferior parental love. The same applies to visitations and outings; not all children in a blended family get to experience equal treatment. Customarily, stepparents allege being busy to attend or spare time for stepchildren. When their biological children are to be taken for outings or visited, they adjust their schedule to accommodate their children’s needs. It is an exercise of favoritism to differentiate children’s needs, yet they have promised to treat all of them fairly. Ephesians 6:4, NLT: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”Staying flexible would prevent impartiality in a blended family. Every child deserves to enjoy Christmas, birthdays, and experience new opportunities irrespective of their family setup.

Other Favoritism Traps

Stepparents are used for gifting their biological children better than their stepchildren. Biological children are applauded for a job well well-done and stranded for their mistakes. On the other side, stepchildren are criticized no matter the achievements made. Lack of balance between the two sets of children yields sibling rivalry and hatred. [9]Another Sign of favoritism is seen when educating children. Biological children are enrolled in the best schools, whereas stepchildren are enrolled in normal or nonperforming schools. Incase stepchildren excel in elementary schools; they are forced to pursue careers that they love or stay at home without further education. Conversely, biological children are allowed to pursue careers of their choice and given second chances if they fail in exams. During punishing, stepchildren are heavily punished for their mistakes, whereas biological children are shown mercy or receive puny punishment.[10] Stepchildren are assigned lots of chores and responsibilities, unlike biological children in a stepfamily. Such tendencies depict favoritism and lead to mental distress. The hate between parents and children can result if the parents fail to balance assigning chores and responsibilities.

Solutions for Troubled Blended Families

           The parent solution in step-parenting is advocating for unity. Parents ought to act and behave as one unit. When the pressure of keeping two families together becomes challenging, a unified effort will solve the tensions. Herein, it means that there should exist a common agreement, rules, and expectations that steer the family. The parenting style should serve the interests of all parents and children within the set up without despising. A comprehensive agreement on parenting should take account the differences between the two families. Matthew 12:25 NIV drums support for unification. It states, “Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” the verse talks about all types of families, including stepfamilies. Without unity, a family is bound to fail. Since children are the fruits of marriage, they blossom in a family that embraces unity and revokes the spirit of separation.

            Biblical teachings impart that love assists in avoiding evil. True love and leadership would avert favoritism in stepfamilies. Love glues families irrespective of their spiritual beliefs, nationality, culture, ethnicity, social status, and background. Love and affections ensure families stay together without one party looking down on the other. Family is one environment to find deceit, anger, biasness, and anger. [11]However, God recommends love as a solution that would address disparities in a blended family. God designed people to love one another the same way He loves us. If parents and children consent to love scriptures, they will not notice differences amongst themselves.

           For blended families to come together as one, they must determine “walls” or differences that cause biasness. It is imperative if the roles of the stepmother, stepfather, and siblings are well defined. The almighty desires for families full of happiness because each stakeholder reckons his/her responsibilities. Again, God is happy when everyone in a family is getting the freedom s/he deserves. There ought to be a workable solution for all unhealthy mindsets that deter one from performing what God wants.[12] It is upon each family to find mechanisms to prevent external influence that would lead to favoritism. Parents and siblings should be aware of trails that impulses inequity .What matters are how stepfamilies handle challenges being aware of favoritism’s consequences. Parents should remain true and focused on the promise they made when forming a blended family. Failed blended families have lost their purpose because they did not remain focused on the union’s objective. One imperative thing that stepfamilies ignore is predetermining problems before they happen. Often, stepparents move in without sharing their interests or citing what makes them happy. Usually, the lovers talk about themselves, disregarding whether their decisions serve the interest of their children.

           Stepparents should discuss in-depth the prying of ex-spouses because co-parenting can ruin the dispensation of roles and responsibilities. When one parent is receiving child support while the other is not, it becomes a challenge. With or without child support, every family member should dispense his/her duties without favoritism.[13] If one parent is coping with a previous relationship’s emotional feelings, reprisal should not be exercised on the siblings or the newfound partner. Innocent children should not experience the consequences of a failed relationship. However, ex, spouses should not be denied access to their children, although they should not interfere with the new family. 

            There are other aspects of a blended family that ought to be addressed. Parents should bestow equal time and money to children irrespective of whether they are biological or stepchildren.[14] Communication in blended families should be improved. Consultation and involvement in decision making would help prevent preferentially. God himself sent an angel to discourse the role of Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus. Matthew 1:19 shows that communication helps in building families, thus preventing separation. Through communication, Jesus’ blended family remained unshaken until Jesus was born. Communication, not mere, but effective and appropriate communication, would strengthen a blended family. Communication and involvement ensure every family member expresses his/her idea or opinions; then, the most amicable solution is formed. Studies show that a lack of communication in a stepfamily affects female children because they lack someone to open up. As a result, they are victimized or despised because the stepparent can assume that they have contended. Stepparents should engage in conversations that affect the family as a whole. They should communicate in increased control and warmth to show their children that they are concerned or moved by their problems. Stepparents can also star in supporting roles by guiding children in the right direction.

Conclusion

            Stepfamilies are hard to manage because of the different members, interests, and influences from outside and ex-spouses. Parents venture into new families with fear that their children are vulnerable to abuse, thus exercising favoritism. Stepchildren are primary culprits of favoritism. They get minimal attention compared to biological children. They are subjected to punishments and unfair treatment. Despite the differences in a stepfamily, each child is eligible for equal opportunities, time, and investment. Moving forward in stepfamilies, communication, goodwill, focus on promises, and active involvement strengthens the union. God orates unity and equality in blended families. Love in the family prevents members from practicing biasness.

Bibliography

Andrade, Gloria, and Brad van Eeden‐Moorefield. “Stepparents and Blended Families.” The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development (2019): 1-10.

Bailey, Huxley, and Will Dodson. ““Family Don’t End in Blood”: Growing Up in a Supernatural Blended Family.”

Gold, Joshua M. “Supporting Postdivorce Stepfathering: Directions for Family Counselors.” The Family Journal 27, no. 4 (2019): 373-376.

Kumar, Komal. “The blended family life cycle.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 58, no. 2 (2017): 110-125.

Oates, Elizabeth. Mending Broken Branches: When God Reclaims Your Dysfunctional Family Tree. Kregel Publications, 2019.

Park, Shelley M. “Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience.” Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement 7, no. 1 (2016).

Perry, Charity, and Rick Fraser. “A Qualitative Analysis of New Norms on Transition Days in Blended Families.” Sociology Mind 10, no. 2 (2020): 55-69.

Spyridaki, Kelly, Florentia Sigala, and Carina Coulacoglou. “Blended families: Psychological changes and narcissistic problems in children.” Le Carnet PSY 8 (2017): 32-37.


                [1] Joshua M Gold, “Supporting Postdivorce Stepfathering: Directions for Family Counselors.” The Family Journal 27, no. 4 (2019): 373-376.

            [2] Komal Kumar, “The blended family life cycle.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 58, no. 2 (2017): 110-125.

                [3] Elizabeth Oates, Mending Broken Branches: When God Reclaims Your Dysfunctional Family Tree. Kregel Publications, 2019.

                [4] Gloria Andrade, “Stepparents and Blended Families.” The Encyclopedia of Child and Adolescent Development (2019): 1-10.

                [5] Komal Kumar, “The blended family life cycle.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 58, no. 2 (2017): 110-125.

                [6] Joshua M. Gold, “Supporting Postdivorce Stepfathering: Directions for Family Counselors.” The Family Journal 27, no. 4 (2019): 373-376.

                [7] Spyridaki “Blended families: Psychological changes and narcissistic problems in children.” Le Carnet PSY 8 (2017): 32-37.

                [8] Komal Kumar, “The blended family life cycle.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 58, no. 2 (2017): 110-125.

                [9] Komal Kumar, “The blended family life cycle.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 58, no. 2 (2017): 110-125.

                [10] Ibid.126.

            [11] Shelley M. Park, “Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience.” Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement 7, no. 1 (2016).

                [12] Charity Perry, “A Qualitative Analysis of New Norms on Transition Days in Blended Families.” Sociology Mind 10, no. 2 (2020): 55-69.

                [13] Komal Kumar, “The blended family life cycle.” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 58, no. 2 (2017): 110-125.

                [14] Shelley M. Park, “Blended: Writers on the Stepfamily Experience.” Journal of the Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement 7, no. 1 (2016).