Q. What can stepfamilies do to be successful?


  • Affirm each other frequently! Demonstrate affection.
  • Spend "alone" time together.
  • Be honest and open.
  • Practice positive communication.
  • Fight fairly!
  • Remember that "little things mean a lot!"


  • Deal with and resolve the loss/pain from previous relationship so that it does not continue to interfere with the present one.
  • Rid oneself from the bitterness which often exists after a divorce.
  • Encourage the children to express and process their feelings. Because emotions are often more intense in a stepfamily and there are more complicating factors, it is important that emotions be expressed in productive ways.


  • All members of the stepfamily need to get to know each other well before a remarriage takes place.
  • The myth of instant love and its antithesis of never-ending, unsolvable problems need to be dispelled.


  • Understand that a new family is being created and that all members will be developing some new roles and changing others.
  • Former spouses must learn to co-parent, which is often very difficult.
  • Children should not be used as messengers between households or as pawns in a power struggle.
  • The non-custodial parent needs to develop a new role and continue to demonstrate love and concern.
  • Stepparents, obviously, have to develop a new role with the children. Depending upon custodial arrangements, different roles are possible. The role of friend is a positive one and can be assumed if the children do not spend much time in the household of the stepparent. Generally, it is recommended to begin the relationship as a friend. Custodial stepparents need to develop a type of parenting role.
  • Neither authoritarian nor permissive discipline seems to work as well in a stepfamily as democratic discipline.
  • Shared roles and responsibilities have benefits in the stepfamily.
  • Grandparents are often neglected in stepfamily research. They, too, assume new roles and can play an instrumental role in stepfamily success. Educating grandparents, as well as other stepfamily members, is highly recommended.
  • Clear, open, honest communication is vital.
  • The couple relationship needs to remain strong. Struggles in which the biological parent feels "in the middle" or the stepparent feels alone can be very detrimental.
  • Whichever roles are finally assumed, the goal is family integration. It is important that stepfamilies begin to develop a sense of unity keeping in mind that this is not a biological family.


  • Learn about stepfamily dynamics by reading stepfamily books.
  • Positive affirmation is important. Hopefully, support is evident from family, friends, and the community in general. Attend an SAA chapter support group.
  • Emphasize the positive! Stepfamilies have many strengths.

September 16-22 Celebrating the whole week!


​​National Stepfamily Day 

Stepfamily Day kicks off on September 16th

Celebrate the entire week with your family!