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In order to function effectively a step-family must have and maintain the following characteristics.
1st) They must be commited to each other and be willing to make the effort necessary to create change. Many people in their second marriage have said, "if I would have worked this hard in my first marriage we would have never divorced".
2nd) Everyone in a remarriage needs to feel a sense of unity, a feeling of closeness, and they need to feel like they are part of the new family.
3rd) Effective communication and problem solving is essential skill in new families. This requires extra time and effort in trying to understand each others needs.
4th) It is essential for clear boundaries to be established. Newly remarried couples need to establish rules and roles. This includes who does the parenting of the children. What is the step-parents role. These boundaries should be discussed early and often.