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  • Expand : *Cases of child abuse in stepfamilies
Priority 3

Cinderella effect[edit]

In many fairy tales, stepmothers are portrayed as wicked, evil, and hating their stepchildren. This is perhaps best seen (or at least most well known) in Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel.

How about in real lifes? Is there any specific research on it? 05:47, 17 May 2004 (UTC)
Yes, for good reason. People typically care about their biological family, but not their stepfamily. Jim Michael (talk) 18:32, 23 March 2014 (UTC)


The end of this looks like it was copied from somewhere

Needs work[edit]

Needs considerable work --Dpr 10:52, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Agree, the article has a lot of problems, and much of it seems to be an essay or original commentary rather than encyclopedic or based on sources. For example (things I have already flagged in article comments):
* Who says that legal adoption does not change the identity of a stepfamily? I think many families in which the stepparent has adopted the child would dispute this. I recall, for example, that Nancy Reagan strongly objected when newspapers referred to her adoptive father Loyal Davis as her "stepfather," and insisted that the references be changed to "father" - which they were.
* The article contradicts itself about whether adult children of a remarriage can be considered as stepchildren, or not.
* The comment about a "nuclear stepfamily" including three or more parents living in one house is simply bizarre.
I don't have the expertise to rewrite this article but I wish someone would. For now I may simply delete the stuff above if no one improves it.
--MelanieN (talk) 17:16, 27 November 2009 (UTC)MelanieN
In fact, the introduction to this article is so badly written - speculative, unsourced, and in some cases contradictory - that I have written a new introductory section. Anyone who has more expertise or better sources, please add to it or correct it. --MelanieN (talk) 21:15, 27 November 2009 (UTC)MelanieN


How would you designate a man who has married one's mother and the one whose mother was married was originally born as a child to a single parent?? Georgia guy 22:41, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Married one's biological mother? Richard001 23:21, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
A man who is married to your mother is your stepfather. This is the case regardless of the previous marital status of the mother. Jim Michael (talk) 18:32, 23 March 2014 (UTC)


What is the etymology of the word? Thes entinel 03:10, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

Death vs. divorce[edit]

Reverted an assertion that because death doesn't severe the bond between the parents, no stepfamily is formed when the widowed remarries. (Cinderella didn't have a stepmother, apparently.) Goldfritha 23:48, 1 June 2006 (UTC)


Here is some error:
According to clause 3: half of children under age 13 live in a kind of stepfamily
According to clause 5: 30% of all children live in stepfamilies

What happens when children living in stepfamilies reach age of 13, stepfamily dissolves?

Vselezn (talk) 16:28, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

But it could be interpreted as high incidence of stepchildren is recent trend. Is it right?

Vselezn (talk) 02:02, 18 February 2010 (UTC)


I looks like the original etymology supplied (stoep) was added in error some time ago. I have added what may be the accepted etymology (steop). Can someone more expert please check and correct... 21:54, 15 December 2006 (UTC)

I removed this since I can find any proof of it "the ca. AD 1000 Middle-English root stoep meant "unrelated by marriage (or blood)" 13:45, 16 December 2006 (UTC)
"step- combining form. Indicating relationship through the previous marriage of a spouse or parent rather than by blood: stepson; stepfather. [Old English stẽop-; compare ãstỹpan to bereave" - Collins English Dictionary (3rd edition, Glasgow: HarperCollins, 1991). Hope this helps. Cheers, Sam Clark 10:44, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Care for the Family[edit]

I've added a link to the step-family section of a charity I support. Any problems please feel free to change it but they provide some good support that people might find useful. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Doive (talkcontribs) 10:08, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I'm writing on behalf of the Tufts University Child and Family Webguide to ask that our website be considered for an external link on this Wikipedia page. Our website is maintained and developed by a staff of evaluators who search the web for articles and sites that contain valuable information for children and their parents regarding various medical/developmental topics. This link leads to our "Stepfamily" site, which contains information on blended families and how new stepfamily relationships are likely to affect children. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

This was properly suggested here more than a year ago, and there was no response. I consider the link reasonable as an external link and am adding it to External links. There are currently too many external links in the United States section, and some of them may not be appropriate. This may be a good candidate to remain, I have not compared it in detail to the others, except forming a quick impression that some of the others should possibly not remain. --Abd (talk) 17:33, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, there definitely are too many links there, and some may not be appropriate at all, but I'd rather discuss before taking a meat cleaver to an article I haven't been participating in editing. Many of the links may be moved here to Talk for discussion before they are replaced, or remain deleted. --Abd (talk) 17:41, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Several of the links clearly fail WP:ELNO ... especially the ones that are primarilly social networking sites and forums. I have no problem with pruning those. For the others, if any sites are removed, they should then be copied over to the talk page so that they can be discussed further to ensure their removal was appropriate - and for easy reference in case they need to be restored or could potentially be used as a ref instead of as an EL. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 17:56, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I took an initial pass at removing the obvious problem sites (social networking/forums ... adverts and commercial sites ... and broken links). Several others also appear questionable; but the remaining ones should problably be discussed further on this talk page either before or after their removal. I don't have time now to check out the remaining ones in any detail, so will leave it for others. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 18:08, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I reverted your removal, Barek, because I believe that there should be some opportunity for discussion, and without any specific disagreement as to any specific removal. I have to attend to other business at the moment, but I consider your removals "proposed removals." Here is a diff to them, and, later, if I have time, I'll assent, presumably, to some of them, and may remove them myself, or I will identify for discussion any ones that I can't readily consent to. And we should allow 24 hours for our Australian counterparts to comment, as a minimum, for anything possibly controversial.
Changed my mind. I'm restoring Barek's changes, they are reasonably non-controversial. I will still list them here. --Abd (talk) 18:34, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you restored ... discussion on keeping it really isn't needed - it's blatantly nothing more than a discussion forum, and clearly doesn't belong. I am removing it again as it serves no purpose. Please discuss prior to re-inserting it. --- Barek (talkcontribs) - 19:01, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Divorced stepfamily[edit]

I am researching the legal and social status of a divorced stepfamily for a personal genealogy project. Specifically, if a parent remarries, such that there is step-parent and step-siblings, and then divorces, does this nullify the "step" relationships? Some relatives have asserted that the stepfamily is unrelated and should not be included in a family tree. Miqrogroove (talk) 18:03, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

The answer appears to be both. I see evidence of a definition of stepparent that ends with divorse or death, and evidence of a definition. See for some references of usage of stepmother and ex-stepmother. Docbillnet (talk) 14:59, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
People who are related through marriage are related only for the duration of the marriage. Jim Michael (talk) 18:42, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Step-parents, siblings & their children[edit]

If your step-mother or father has brothers and sisters and they have their own children what would the relation be between those people? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:15, 2 April 2008 (UTC) I've seen terms like 'step-cousin' (which would seem to apply in this case) or even 'step-aunt' and 'step-nephew' used in Genealogical descriptions, but do not know whether it is "officially" correct. - Loren —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:27, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, these terms are correct. For example, person A's stepparent's brother is A's step-uncle, and the step-uncle's child is A's step-cousin. Jim Michael (talk) 18:42, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Another question of definition:[edit]

Several dictionary definitions say a step-parent is a SUBSEQUENT spouse of a parent. If my father has been married twice, and I am his child by his first wife, then his second wife is my stepmother. (Obvious.) But if I am his child by his second wife, then his first wife is NOT my stepmother. (???) I could imagine that it had been assumed long ago that, if my father has a second wife, his first wife is dead. So my question wouldn’t have made sense. But that assumption is no longer reasonable. Has the definition changed in the meantime? - Loren —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:54, 21 June 2009 (UTC)

Interesting question. I have not found any references to text that considers wifes from previous marriages as stepmothers. For example, my wife's first husband died. If my son considered him a stepfather he would write something like "my stepfather died before I was born". The lack of this type of usage implies the definition of stepparent does not extend to marriages before a child was born. Docbillnet (talk) 15:08, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

Changes to External links section for Australia[edit]

In January, 2008, there were two external links for Australia (permanent link).

  • Stepfamily Zone Australian site dedicated to stepfamilies and their unique challenges. (
  • Stepfamily Forum Free forum and discussion board for all members of the stepfamily. (

Last year, these changes were made to that section:

  • 26 October, User:Steptopia added a new link, which was reverted as linkspam; the user was warned. Steptopia then removed both long-standing external links, without comment.
  • 8 November, IP from Australia replaced the stepfamily forum link.
  • 26 February, IP from Australia appears to have attempted to edit the External Links, but only added a space. This IP then asked a question about blacklisting of the site that had been removed as a net effect of the prior edits. The site is not blacklisted, but that question would attract the attention of those volunteers who deal with excessive external links.
  • 27 February, Barek [ placed a linkfarm notice] on the External Links section.

I have above noted that there seem to be, indeed, too many external links, particularly in the United States section. I recommend that editors of this article review these links, and keep those which are most useful. See WP:EL for guidance. I suggest, in particular, links which will then link to other resources, and links which are neutral, as well as links which are particularly useful. Links appealing to a narrow audience may not be appropriate, but it is up to the editors of this article to decide. Of course, that any editor can become an editor of this article, absent some conflict of interest. If you are connected with a web site as an owner or employee or officer, you should not add links to your site, but may suggest them in Talk.

Because it was long-standing, and without serious review, I am replacing the former link to It appears to have been removed as a kind of vandalism or making a point, and that wasn't noticed. --Abd (talk) 18:22, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Question regarding term "stepsibling once removed"[edit]

This is just a question of curiosity, but what exactly is a stepsibling once (or more times) removed? I think it would be something of interest to address in this article. Fuelsaver (talk) 23:23, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

There's no such thing as a 'stepsibling once removed'. People are either stepsiblings or are not. Once removed, twice removed etc. describes types of cousins only. Jim Michael (talk) 18:42, 23 March 2014 (UTC)


The article should maybe try to determine how often incest occurs within newly formed stepfamilies. Given that the obvious biological link is no longer prevalent in the second family, it is possible to imagine that the taboo surrounding sexual relations with step-relatives is not as strong as in biological families. ADM (talk) 19:49, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

The article is open to editing by anyone, including you. If you want to research this question and come up with reliable information, it would improve the article. Just be sure to cite your sources, OK? Thanks! --MelanieN (talk) 06:33, 30 November 2009 (UTC)MelanieN
Stepfamily incest is multiple times more common than biofamily incest, because of the Westermarck effect and the Cinderella effect. Jim Michael (talk) 20:02, 23 March 2014 (UTC)


Perhaps a strange question - but if a stepparent dies (while still married to someone's parent), is that someone still the step-sibling of the stepparent's children? I assume divorce means that a "step-sibling" will no longer be a step-sibling, but is the same true for death? All Hallow's Wraith (talk) 00:12, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

People related through marriage are only related for the duration of the marriage. Jim Michael (talk) 20:02, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Confusion over terms[edit]

Okay, so I get married and have one child by my husband. My father is his father-in-law. We divorce or he dies or something, and I remarry a guy that already has a child. My father is of course his father-in-law, and he is of course my child's stepfather. Here's where the confusion comes in...

Would my second husband technically be my child's father-in-law as well? Aren't the children sibling-in-laws? I see why they're step-family, but wouldn't they all also be family-in-law?

I mean, my father isn't genetically related to either of my husbands, so why wouldn't Husband 2 be my child's father-in-law? Motherloving non-genetic relationships, how do they work? (It just hit me all of the sudden, and I just HAD to ask, although I'm probably going to wish I hadn't. *wink*)

My brain hurts... (talk) 00:15, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

No to both your questions. You and your hypothetical future second husband would be the stepparents of each other's children. The children would be stepsiblings, not siblings-in-law. A sibling-in-law is a sibling's spouse or a spouse's sibling. Jim Michael (talk) 18:47, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

Removing POV tag with no active discussion per Template:POV[edit]

I've removed an old neutrality tag from this page that appears to have no active discussion per the instructions at Template:POV:

This template is not meant to be a permanent resident on any article. Remove this template whenever:
  1. There is consensus on the talkpage or the NPOV Noticeboard that the issue has been resolved
  2. It is not clear what the neutrality issue is, and no satisfactory explanation has been given
  3. In the absence of any discussion, or if the discussion has become dormant.

Since there's no evidence of ongoing discussion, I'm removing the tag for now. If discussion is continuing and I've failed to see it, however, please feel free to restore the template and continue to address the issues. Thanks to everybody working on this one! -- Khazar2 (talk) 22:10, 21 July 2013 (UTC)


Do some parts of the world have laws against a stepbrother and stepsister having sex together? Can they marry each other? Obviously, such things are frowned on in most of the world, but are they illegal anywhere? (talk) 13:09, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

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