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Stepfamily Challenges

There are many tasks that stepfamilies need to accomplish in order to complete the development involved in becoming "family." Experts say this process can take up to seven years. Some of the following tasks will be easier than others, while others will need to be revisited and reworked many times. All of them contribute to creating a family with a new identity… your stepfamily.

  • Identifying and processing the many losses and changes of all stepfamily members.
  • Building and maintaining a strong couple relationship.
  • Learning to parent together.
  • Defining (and re-defining) the role of the stepparent.
  • Finding support and education specific to stepfamilies.
  • Respecting each family's past traditions and rituals as a base from which to build new ones.
  • Recognizing the differing developmental stages (and implications) of all stepfamily members.
  • Developing resilience and positivity.

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