Step Families Suck header image

‘Stepfamilies Suck’ Soon to be released-by Angela Panzarino


Statistics show us that second marriages and relationships are failing faster than ever before. The media reaffirms to us what is happening in our own backyards, as we watch high profile couples moving from relationship to relationships, with children, having children and acquiring new ones along the way.

Now I’m not suggesting that all step-families are a recipe for disaster by any measure.  However the mystery lies in the traps and the pitfalls we do not anticipate, that are prevalent to step-families only.  And not until we are in the midst of their destruction that we find ourselves crying out for help, with nowhere to turn for solutions.  Moving into the next relationship and falling into the same pitfalls, demanding our attention, yet once again. While we focus on our relationship and its survival, we lose sight at times of the relationship with our children and their cries for help.

This book takes us deep into the world of step-families and a truthful look at what really happens behind closed doors as we play happy families to the outside world. The sometimes ugly and confronting side of step parenting that society chooses not to discuss but instead  turn a blind eye.

The investigation into the main deal-breaker in step-families, discipline and why is this so. That no matter what the step-family combination is, it seems that discipline, the greatest of all the evils is always lurking, presenting its self with debilitating results in so many ways.  A close look at the dynamics that we fail to foresee. The fine line that borders abuse with discipline.

Discipline;  We must never underestimate its power when it is administered with the wrong intention. Little people at the mercy of our power and control.

Parents (or adults of authority eg;stepparents teachers etc) have the capacity to touch the lives of  little people and teenagers in such a profound powerful way.   Or the power to destroy their very spirit and leave a stamp of ugliness and pain that is tattooed deep into their soul.

We will be accountable. One day they will grow up and look into our eyes. There will be silence and we will know who we have been.


Angela Panzarino My childhood was spent growing up on a vegetable farm nestled on the Murray River. My parents were poor and raising four little girls in the harsh unforgiving Australian landscape was a challenge. My childhood memories are filled with fun and freedom.  Our farm was a child’s perfect playground.

Later in life I realised that the greatest gift in my life has been the values and compassion that my parents instilled in me growing up. The unconditional love and safety net that my family provided. Encouragement and support through the teenage years of ‘You can do it’ to all the obstacles that life presented was my parents motto that filtered through to adult life.

Being a hairdresser most of my adult life allowed me to never have to wake up a day and feel like I was going to work. The creativity of using my hands combined with the personal interaction into people’s personal lives as they shared their most personal stories, was at times a spiritual experience. Something about the consenting human touch in a hairdresser’s chair that allows a connection that is unexplainable.

In my personal life when my daughter was the tender age of three, overnight  I found myself  through no choice of my own a single mum.  Moving back home with parents, my dad provided my daughter with a father role model and my mother the doting babysitter. The relationship of loving grandparents  leaving a deep loving imprint in my daughter’s life long after they had passed on.

When my daughter was ten I met my new husband freshly separated with two small children. Our union was intense but nothing could prepare us for the challenges of surviving in a stepfamily.  My fascination into the dynamics of stepfamilies issues would  lead me into a journey of  the study of stepfamily structures and their own  unique pitfalls. And so my journey began and my book was born.

This book is about my personal stepfamily journey. Confronting revelations. The ugly side of behind closed doors as we play happy families to the world. The impact on children who have no voice.

It is my dream that every child should grow up safe. This book is dedicated to the likes of Ben who have been failed by family breakdowns and end up living on our city streets. (story of Ben in the Building).

My book title speaks  for itself.

For those in Stepfamilies no explanation is necessary.

For those who are not, explanations may not be possible…………Stepfamilies Suck

By Angela Panzarino