The tendency for the cycle of abusive and neglectful parenting to be
transmitted across generations has been well documented. The authors report
on 40 families who broke this family pattern. The mechanisms for change
used in these families included reliance on a broad network of resources, a
degree of self-differentiation, an attitude of realistic optimism, and the
ability to marshall extra resources to meet crisis situations. The authors
recommend further study of such exceptions and a more hopeful approach to
the problem of abusive families.