Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Difficult Pick-ups

For the longest while we had a really tough time picking up my stepdaughter from her mother’s. She’d never be ready to go at the appointed time and it would take ages to get her out into the car. Often my then-boyfriend-now-husband would end up having to be the one to get her dressed. He made me come with him to pick her up, and I would watch from the entryway feeling frustrated and powerless.

My stepdaughter couldn’t stand to be told what to do and would throw huge temper tantrums when her mom asked her to get ready to go. To exert control over the situation, SD would then insist on changing her clothes and shoes several different times, insisting on having her mom search for yet another toy, and so on. Meanwhile, her mom wouldn’t discipline her, and the screaming tantrums went on night after night after night.

I just about lost it. I felt so anxious and angry but completely powerless to do anything about it. I—eventually—felt comfortable disciplining my stepdaughter in my own home, but I certainly couldn’t discipline her in her mother’s.

I tried telling my then-boyfriend that I didn’t want to come with him to pick her up any more. He was angry and took it as me rejecting her. It was a deal-breaker for him, he told me. I said ok, but things need to change.

He started calling her mother about ten minutes before our scheduled pick up time to remind her to have SD ready. It helped, but most of the time she still ended up letting SD change her shoes five more times, change her jacket, pick out "one more toy" to take with her, and so on.

One night when we arrived at the door, SD had decided to hide in her bedroom and was shrieking (SHRIEKING) at the top of her lungs, "DON'T COME IN! DON'T COME IN!" Her mom remained sitting on the couch. She smiled a little and said, "Oh, that's her new thing these days."

It was the last straw. Rather than instigate a half-hour-long bargaining session like he used to do, my boyfriend went in, wrestled open the door, picked her up, and walked out the front door with her screaming little body slung over his shoulder.

It went on like that for a long, long time. We still have some rough car rides, but it’s been about seven months since he’s had to pick her up and physically force her into the car. (Thank GOD). I still look back and wonder how I could have better handled the situation. Have you ever had to deal with this kind of thing? I’d love to hear how you coped with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment