That sounds strange and it’s not meant to be negative or condescending rather it’s an important observation. Every stepfamily has a loss narrative just below the surface that impacts and influences every aspect of the family. For a child whose parent died, for example, embracing a stepparent can feel like burying their parent again. Sadness impacts bonding. Understanding this helps you listen better, have more patience, and support those you care about. The more you know, the better you love.