As the rate of serial (second or subsequent) marriage increases, so too does the incidence of blended families, or stepfamilies. The difficulties of the stepchild relationship have been known and described for millenia, as the tale of Cindirella illustrates. The earliest known version of the Cinderella story dates from the 9th century c.e. and is a Chinese folktale.
A serial marriage poses both opportunities and challenges for the newly remarried adults, but it immediately poses even more challanges than opportunities for any minor stepchildren of the newly married couple. The immediate challenges for any minor stepchildren arise from the complex changes in personal relationships that the new marriage embodies. For minor stepchildren, any new marriage may feel less like a gain and more like a loss: loss or at least diminuition of a parent’s attention, affection, and love.