04/11/2013 07:09 pm ET Updated Apr 11, 2013

Stepfather Study: New Research Shows What Stepchildren Want In A Stepdad

What's the secret to being a good stepdad?

A new study out of Brigham Young’s School of Social Work delves into what stepchildren say contributes to a healthy relationship with a stepfather.

Looking at a nationally representative sample of 1,088 children in stepfamilies, BYU professor Kevin Shafer and grad student Todd Jensen found that, from a child's perspective, frustrations most often occur when new stepdads assume too much parental control or when they try to interfere with the family's usual way of doing things.

So what can be done to cultivate a bond between stepfathers and stepkids? The researchers identified three key factors that contribute significantly to closeness in a blended family: both adults need to agree on how to parent and keep arguments to a minimum, and moms need to encourage the kids to vent any frustrations they may have.

"Moms need to let their children know that it's OK to talk if they have a problem with their stepfather because everybody is still trying to figure out this new family dynamic," Shafer said in a press statement.

Weigh in with what you think makes a stepparent successful in the comments, then click through the slideshow below for HuffPost Divorce experts' advice on how stepparents can forge a better relationship with their spouse's kids.

How To Win Over Your Stepkids

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