A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study of stepfamilies found that a stepfamily has a unique natural life cycle, takes several years to develop into a family unit, and is at greatest risk for failure during its first two years.
To help strengthen the stepfamily, parents can establish new and enjoyable family traditions, recognize that children need to stay in touch with non-custodial parents, and focus on being open with family communication.
A stepfamily is formed by the marriage or long-term cohabitation of two individuals, when one or both have at least one child from a previous relationship living part-time or full-time in the household.
One workplace psychologist estimates that businesses in the United States lose more than $10 billion annually due to problems related to stepfamily issues, working parents, and other marital stresses.
According to statistics from the United States Census Bureau and the Stepfamily Foundation, one in three Americans is involved in a stepfamily situation, and 1,300 new stepfamilies form each day.