An interview with psychologist and author Dr. Patricia Papernow about the challenges of step-family living. Patricia lays out three of the most challenging parts of being a step-family: The first challenge is insider/outsider dynamics between the biological parent and the step-parent. These dynamics can leave the step parent feeling invisible, left out and increasingly withdrawn. The structure also sets up the insider biological parent to feel torn and inadequate at keeping their new family together. The second challenge is managing the opposing pulls on the step parent to become more authoritarian and the biological parent to become more permissive with the children. Lastly Patricia emphasizes the importance for the parents to recognize the very complicated set of losses and loyalty binds that a new step-parent means for a child. In fact what is a cause for celebration and happiness in the parent represents many layers of loss for the child. She has helpful suggestions for ways that parents can be attuned and sensitive to this essential difference between them. Patricia’s book, Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships: What Works and What Doesn’t, is a wonderful resource.