Stepfamilies face a substantially different set of challenges from first-time families and must travel very different territory in order to forge a successful family life. Proceeding in a stepfamily as if you are forming a first-time family is a little like heading West with a map of Philadelphia--a recipe for disaster. This paper will look at where stepfamilies start and how this is different from first-time families. We will examine the particular challenges created by pre-existing parent-child relationships which include ex-spouses and grandparents. As in any difficult territory, a good map helps. Normal, stages of stepfamily development will be summarized, followed by very specific, research supported ?directions? for what works (and what does not work) in building successful and healthy stepfamily relationships. Do?s and don?ts for parenting across households will be discussed as well as biological parenting versus stepparenting, supporting children, and dealing constructively with ex-spouses and grandparents.