The understanding of parenting in stepfamilies requires an examination of theoretical concepts and a review of research findings so that they can serve as a guide to the researcher in goal-setting, data collection and analysis. Stepfamilies have been the topic of much professional literature in the last two decades, but the recognition of notice of stepfamilies as a social phenomenon had begun as early as the 1950s and attracted the attention of scholars and researchers. Literature and reports of studies over the years have reflected changes in society and values and their impact on stepfamilies. For example, the stepfamilies identified in the earlier years were those formed after the death of one spouse; there were more men remarried resulting in more stepmother families than stepfather families, and at that time there were not as many types of stepfamilies identified as in the 1990s. Nowadays there are more stepfamilies formed after divorces and the number of women remarrying has increased quickly. More liberal and accepting social attitudes have developed from these studies, and more ‘hidden’ stepfamilies which at one time covered themselves for fearing social labelling have now come to surface.