Return to the Stepfamily Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Transition days...anyone else have issues?

Posted by lovehadley (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 23, 09 at 10:31

I dread Wednesdays. That is the day my SS comes back to our house, either after a two day stretch w/BM or a 5 day one. The 5 day ones are always worse.

Yesterday was particularly rought b/c SS had been with BM for two 5 day stretches in a row---she got two weekends in a row to makeup for DH's holiday weekend on 4th of July.

So in the past 14 days, he's only been with us for 4 days. That is VERY unusual.

Anyway, when I say the transition is rough, I just mean that SS is in an ornery form when he gets to our house. I KNOW that it's tough on him---different homes, different rules, expectations, etc. The first day is always a period of adjustment and testing boundaries. By the 2nd, 3rd day things are fine.....that's why I honestly think it would be EASIER if he never left! I am really looking forward to next summer b/c DH and BM will do the modified summer schedule which is 2 weeks with one parent, 2 weeks with the other, and so on for 12 weeks.

Last night sucked! And my DH was really ticking me off b/c he didn't handle anything.

DD and SS are both in different camps this week. As part of DD's camp, she camps out tonight. She is a tad nervous---not about the sleeping away from home--but about wearing pull-ups. She doesn't mind in front of her school friends b/c they have never bothered her about it---but she is just worried about a new group of kids. And when I say worried---she really is not THAT concerned. She is a pretty confident kid, and nothing phases her too much. Anyway, per her request, I went on a special trip to find pull-ups that look like regular underwear. Found these goodnite things that are supposed to look like boxers---and they're pink. They are okay, not great, but okay. DD was looking at them w/me last night and SS came into the bedroom to see what we were doing. DD asked me in front of him if I thought the pull-ups looked okay, and I said I tohught they were great. SS says "they look like baby diapers to me." I just gave him a LOOK and said "stop." He proceeded to say it THREE more times. "They look like baby diapers to me." All with a big grin on his face.

I was fuming! I mean, if it had been reversed, and my DD saying it to him or to ANYONE---well, i don't know what I would have done but I definitely would have removed her from the room and laid out some sort of consequence. The second time he said it, I said "ok, you need to stop talking and leave the room" and he said it again, still smiling. That's the thing about kids and words---they are powerful weapons and, really, you cannot MAKE someone stop talking.

After the third time he said it, I told him that he needed to go to his room and wait for DH. Which of course he didn't, he said he "had to go to the bathroom." This is a SS tactic. EVERY SINGLE time he gets sent to time-out, he has to pee. Every time! DH sends him to his room--all of a sudden, his bladder is gonna explode, he cries, and DH lets him go to the bathroom. It is soooo annoying. And he never pees, just runs the faucet and stays in the bathroom until DH yells at him to get back to time out. I've pointed this out to DH but he never does anything....he usually starts off telling SS that he has to wait, then SS cries, says he has to go really bad...and DH finally relents. UGH.

So DH comes in from mowing the grass about 5 mins later and I recapped it to him. He took SS upstairs to talk to him, and SS starts in with "I was just telling the truth. We're supposed to tell the truth and DD asked if they looked okay....and they didn't!"

So this is what ticks me off---DH comes down and replays THAT to me and then says "well, it was your own fault for letting him be in the room. You should have made him leave before he saw them. You know he would make fun."

GRRRRRR. I Was in DD's bedroom, doesn't get more private! And yeah--I probably should have asked SS to leave, but I didn't want to be rude from the get-go. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I honestly WAS surprised that he was mean about the pull-ups b/c usually he is a pretty tender kid. He has never really made fun of DD like that. So---I attribute it to a transtion sort of issue.

Whatever. It's just tough b/c with disengaging, I don't really want to be a disciplinarian w/SS, especially when DH is home to handle things. But then--I also don't like *tattling* on SS either.

So then---we had dinner. I had done a pork tenderloin in the crockpot, just a very simple recipe. Tenderloin, 2 cups of water, little bit of onion powder, salt, pepper, 2 bags of baby carrots, and 4 potatoes, peeled and cut. I make it w/chicken all the time and the kids love it. Both kids like pork, too, so I thought this would be yummy. And it was---but SS was just so awful about it at dinner. The WHOLE dinner was constant "this is terrible. This is the worst thing I've eaten in a hundred years. I hate it. I am groing to throw up."

I mean, it was UNREAL. UNREAL. He is generally a picky eater, but has gotten better lately, and this was the first time in many months he's been rude at dinner, and this was definitely the most extreme example. It must have gone on for at least 10-15 mins.

And does DH do anything? Not really. Kept telling him to stop...but SS kept right on and finally I said "I've lost my appetite' and left the table.

Once again--I was fuming. I was VERY quiet and calm about leaving but inside, I was boiling over. All the while, my poor DD just sits there not saying a word and I am kicking myself mentally for exposing her to this stuff.

And then the rest of the night was just lots of inappropriate words---"turd, crap, stupid" etc over and over. All the while DH is saying "stop, stop, say it again, you'll go to bed, say it again...." and NOTHING happens.

I KNOW it's hard on SS because these are all words he uses at BM's but we don't allow them here. And he tests b/c it's a transition, but that doesn't make it any easier for us.

It just feels like the transition days are all fighting and arguing and tension and I HATE IT. EVERYONE feels the tension and it's just not what I want for anyone in our family.

Step-parenting is the HARDEST thing I have ever done. I just think to myself, "well, if he were my child, this is how I would handle it' but he's NOT my child and I can't handle it, so I just grit my teeth and wait for DH to do something, which never seems to be the right response IMO.

I am not really blaming SS here, either. DH is the one calling the shots here. He could be firmer, etc. He doesn't. I don't know why.

EVERYONE Has commented about this to me. Both my parents, on many separate occasions have mentioned to me that DH never follows through with anything, that he threatens a lot, or keeps repeating thigns, but never follows through. It's true.

I don't say anything about it really anymore b/c there's no point. I just handle DD and think I am doing a pretty good job. She is polite, outgoing, confident, and well-liked at school, with friends, family, etc. I mean, sure, she has her moments like any child, but for the most part, she is really so well-behaved. Everyone from teachers to parents to family members comment on that. I am NOT saying I am a perfect parent by ANY means, but I do my best, and it seems to be working so far.

UGH. I just want to scream today. I mean, really---it gets so bad that I just feel like maybe I should leave on Weds. or something!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

All my Sc pull the bathroom thing like I am going to forget they were sent to their rooms while they are in there.

Next time he complains about dinner take it away and give him a pbj sandwich.

I took a job on sunday nights transition day to be gone when they get home so I don't have to be here for the fighting that always ensues as soon as they walk through the door and continues for atleast an hour or 3

"And then the rest of the night was just lots of inappropriate words---"turd, crap, stupid" etc over and over. All the while DH is saying "stop, stop, say it again, you'll go to bed, say it again...." and NOTHING happens. "

Have you asked hubby directly how many times is he going to say it before he actually does it? if the kid doesn't go to bed you do and when he asks why tell him ... someone should since you said it #### times.


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

Transition times with young children are always rough...
But yeah, Hubby's 'doormat act' isn't helping.

IMO, Pseudo's suggestions are pretty good --

- Don't like dinner? That's OK - we won't make you eat it. But you're not permitted to be rude about it, I won't cook you another meal, and you can't make yourself junk food. (Boxed cereal is a great standby. Reasonably nutritious and simple enough for a 7 year old to fix himself.)

- Empty threats? Hubby needs to do better than that. What worked really well for mine was to ask them "What will happen if you do that again?" Of course, mine would say that whatever the threatened consequence was -- that's what would happen, and having them say it themselves made it undeniable. In your case though, if you ask them this question (and I'm suggesting that you do -- within Dad's hearing), they'll probably mutter "Nothing" (with a snarky look) -- and this might get DAD's attention. At least it should.

- On the time out bathroom deal, simply walk him to the bathroom on the way to time out and stand there calmly (in the doorway) waiting while he pees. (He may no longer have to...) Then on to his time out spot.

You know all these are games, and that if you allow yourself to be drawn in and 'play' them, then they work. Not every statement/question from a petulant child requires an answer! Refuse to be pulled in. Remember, a bland smile and a quiet voice are your best friends.


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

"- Don't like dinner? That's OK - we won't make you eat it."

We have a somewhat different approach. If it's something tried and true, that we know the kids like, then they are required to eat a certain amount of it. That was the issue last night--DH told SS he had to eat 5 bites of the meat, 5 baby carrots, and 5 pieces of potato. There was nothing surprising or different this meal. Yes, it was a pork tenderloin instead of chicken, but both kiddos eat pork all the time---we do pork chops on the grill or simmered in a crockpot fairly often.

If there are things we know they really don't like, then I just make sure the side dishes that go with the meal are appealing. For example----SS is not crazy about salmon but we have it occasionally. On those nights, I just make sure we have two sides he likes---ie, baked potatoes w/butter/sour cream, and carrots. Those are two things he will *normally* eat a ton of. Same with DD and burgers---she doesn't like the bun? So she just has a plain burger w/no bun. Stuff like that is no big deal. And I am certainly not in the "clean your plate" club.

So--while I certainly don't believe in forcing kids to eat---I am also not an avid fan of "make yourself something else all the time." On occasion, this is acceptable, but NOT when the food being served is perfectly fine and we know it's something the kids like.

SS was just in a crabby mood last night. if he'd been alllowed to get up and have an alternative, he would have *won.*

Anyway, I am trying to disengage and not get sucked into what SS eats or doesn't eat. At least DH did stand firm later on. The kids had a snack (animal crackers) a couple hrs after dinner, and right before bed, SS had a fit, crying that he was "starving." DH just said "too bad, you should have eaten more of your dinner" and that was the end of that. He CAN be firm when he wants to and it works--he just rarely is!

"You know all these are games, and that if you allow yourself to be drawn in and 'play' them, then they work. Not every statement/question from a petulant child requires an answer! Refuse to be pulled in. Remember, a bland smile and a quiet voice are your best friends."

This is good advice, Sweeby, but the problem is--my DH does not do this. He argues and gets sucked in, whether it's BM or SS or whoever.

So I can sit there and be quiet all I want (which is generally what I try to do) but that doesn't mean the sh*t going on around me doesn't affect me and DD.

It would jsut be NICE if DH and I could get on the same page about things.


 o
reply

"- Don't like dinner? That's OK - we won't make you eat it."

We have a somewhat different approach. If it's something tried and true, that we know the kids like, then they are required to eat a certain amount of it. That was the issue last night--DH told SS he had to eat 5 bites of the meat, 5 baby carrots, and 5 pieces of potato. There was nothing surprising or different this meal. Yes, it was a pork tenderloin instead of chicken, but both kiddos eat pork all the time---we do pork chops on the grill or simmered in a crockpot fairly often.

If there are things we know they really don't like, then I just make sure the side dishes that go with the meal are appealing. For example----SS is not crazy about salmon but we have it occasionally. On those nights, I just make sure we have two sides he likes---ie, baked potatoes w/butter/sour cream, and carrots. Those are two things he will *normally* eat a ton of. Same with DD and burgers---she doesn't like the bun? So she just has a plain burger w/no bun. Stuff like that is no big deal. And I am certainly not in the "clean your plate" club.

So--while I certainly don't believe in forcing kids to eat---I am also not an avid fan of "make yourself something else all the time." On occasion, this is acceptable, but NOT when the food being served is perfectly fine and we know it's something the kids like.

SS was just in a crabby mood last night. if he'd been alllowed to get up and have an alternative, he would have *won.*

Anyway, I am trying to disengage and not get sucked into what SS eats or doesn't eat. At least DH did stand firm later on. The kids had a snack (animal crackers) a couple hrs after dinner, and right before bed, SS had a fit, crying that he was "starving." DH just said "too bad, you should have eaten more of your dinner" and that was the end of that. He CAN be firm when he wants to and it works--he just rarely is!

"You know all these are games, and that if you allow yourself to be drawn in and 'play' them, then they work. Not every statement/question from a petulant child requires an answer! Refuse to be pulled in. Remember, a bland smile and a quiet voice are your best friends."

This is good advice, Sweeby, but the problem is--my DH does not do this. He argues and gets sucked in, whether it's BM or SS or whoever.

So I can sit there and be quiet all I want (which is generally what I try to do) but that doesn't mean the sh*t going on around me doesn't affect me and DD.

It would jsut be NICE if DH and I could get on the same page about things.


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

I completely agree about transition days. The last round of court issues, our attorney was telling us that because my SS is 7, he is more then old enough to understand different houses have different rules. But he (SS) is CLUELESS! When we took him in for a counseling consultation one of the first things the psychologist picked up on was his extreme social immaturity. So I don't know if that is his issue. We get him EOW during the school year and 8 weeks in the summer. BM will take him for one week in the middle of the summer. Tomorrow marks 7 days with us since he spent a week with mom and things are drastically going down hill. Meals with him are horrid! It doesn't matter what I make, but he complains about it. I can't even cook hot dogs the right way! DH is to the point where her just tells SS to go to bed. What makes me mad is that the week before he went to BM's we finally where having pleasant meals and its all gone down the drain.


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

Oh yeah, transition day is rough here too. It's not too bad coming from BM's, but it's BRUTAL if he comes to us from his grandma's.

But why not just make the bathroom his timeout space?
I assume his timeouts are 10 minutes or less, so most of the time, another family member could wait a few extra minutes if they had to go, right? (Maybe not DD if it was urgent)
If he says "Ahhh! I have to pee!" reply with "OK, pee, then take your timeout in the bathroom. We'll start your five minutes when we hear the toilet flush and your hands washed." I bet he'll prefer taking his timeout in his bedroom on his comfy bed than on the cold bathroom floor.


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

Lol...just a thought.....love i would have handed him the pullup and sent him to his room....lol..yah...cruel but that was cruel what he did...but its normal beleive it or not for kids to tease their peers and siblings.
The moment he made a comment i would have said say sorry and get out now. And i would have scooted him out immediately. But the damage is already done. unfortunatley for your daughter.
As for your dh...next time tell him your daughter room is completely off limits and he is to not enter again. How about that?
dinner...sure , you dont have to eat that...but like eveyrone else said, no more cooking. some cereal will do.
I would walk away if my skids and son didn't eat what i cooked. Never had trouble with sd. SHe loves my cooking but both the boys...rrrrrrr...they're picky. Well my son has become picky now..so it must be a boy thing. Spoke with other friends and they all say it. Their sons pick at the food and whine while their daughters , no complaints , eat it and clean up!
Do the best you can day by day..that is all you can do. no one is perfect and they'll be better days than other.
Hang in there! Have a bubble bath and glass of wine!


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

"Well my son has become picky now..so it must be a boy thing."

It totally could be a boy thing!

I think for SS some of it is just getting used to eating a certain way w/BM and then having to switch over to our menu. After having been with BM for 10 of the last 14 days, he wasn't adjusted to our food yet.
He's in camp this week and the lunch I packed for him was NOT a hit b/c he's used to BM or grandma's lunches.

When he came home on Wed, his trash was all in his lunchbox, and some of the food was leftover---I was shocked to see the lunch. A ham sandwich, which is fine, and he had eaten most of it. Then a Hi-C drink, which isn't great since it's just pure sugar. A fruit roll-up wrapper. Half-eaten bag of king-sized M & Ms. And a pop-tart wrapper. ?????

So the lunch I packed---and this is very typical what the kids eat at our house for lunch--I packed him a PB&J on whole wheat bread. Fresh blueberries. Small stack of low-fat Pringles. Apple & Eve 100% juice box. And two fig newtons.

I just try to keep things balanced---I am totally fine w/the kids having "junk food" so long as it's in moderation. I don't mind them having a small serving of chips or cookies w/lunch, esp. when it's a packed lunch for camp, but I make sure that there is ALWAYS a fruit w/it, and that the treats I pack aren't *too* bad!

Anyway, SS didn't eat a bite of the sandwich b/c he doesn't like wheat bread, he wanted white, which is what BM buys. But he DOES eat wheat over here all the time, we never buy white---I guess he had just grown accustomed to BM's food. He didn't eat the blueberries and didn't eat the fig newtons either. So I guess he had Pringles for lunch yesterday.

oh well. He will re-adjust---haha, just in time to go back to BM's, and then we will start all over again when he gets back!


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

We have hard transition periods sometimes. They are more frequent now that my sister and neices are living with us. DS doesn't like to get bombarded when he walks in the door, so he's instantly irritable when he gets home and the girls are excited to see him. This past Sunday was THE WORSE! It was late when X brought him back and he was tired. Then the girls wanted to tell him all about this and that and he just wanted to be alone. But he was saying disrespectful things to them. So I separated them for the rest of the night.

We haven't had an actual transition period in a long time until recently. X has been picking DS up from school on Fridays and X's GF (or soon-to-be-XGF) takes him to school on Mondays. I guess the teachers get to deal with transition period.

But, X moved in with his parents last week so he could "help them out" and now lives 25 miles away. So now he has to drop DS off on Sunday nights. UGH!


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

I did not read everyone elses comments so sorry if I missed anything or repeat something.

Until your dh stops threatening and starts following through ss's behavior will not change! You need to sit down with him and make a list of unacceptable behaviors and consequences. And he needs to stick to them! And the bathroom thing needs to be tuned out. Once time out starts completely ignore ss until the time is up. Then he can go to the bathroom.

(maybe he could wear some of those pull-ups he made fun of in time-out if he has to go so bad??) Sorry that was mean!!


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

Good suggestion mom2emall, we did something similar and it worked really well.

My FDH was (and still is sometimes) reluctant to discipline the kids, much to my annoyance. Especially because he did think it was great when I did it, so it's not as if he didn't care. But I worry about more things then he does, so his response often was 'don't worry about it'.

Something had to change, and we probably both needed to compromise, so we decided that I'd write down a list of things that I thought he should discipline on. We picked the things on that list that were most important and agreed that FDH would pay attention to those. The other things were going to be left till later (so that was my challenge).

FDH did step up and discipline the kids on the issues we agreed on. It was a way to get started, and it worked for us.

Now FDH disciplines more and I bite my tongue at times, it all takes practice.

It does come down to your DH changing his ways though Lovehadley, he is the only one who can improve the situation. Is he worried that SS will hate him forever if he does follow through with something? Maybe he needs some more reassuring that his own son will not hate him till the end of days for sending him to his room. I know my FDH did. Good luck


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

Lovehadley, your dh and mine sound very similar in how they handle the kids. It is indeed very frustrating.

We used to have the transition issues when the kids would go to their mom's for a visit. They would come back and things would just be awful for the first few days. But then we also had to deal with the change in behavior BEFORE they left too. That was also a lot of fun.

It did get better once sd stopped going to her mom's. It kinda came down to it isn't a good idea, especially if we have to drive to pick them up or drop them off or whatever, and you know, mom didn't fight it at all. So visits just stopped all together. It was a lot easier when they got a little older, because of school and work. There really isn't a lot of extra time.


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

I had a difficult transition time when I and Xhusband lived close by and equally bad when we lived far away, I also had transition problems when DD came from visiting my parents or X's parents, but according to X, DD had awful transition time when she came from my house to his as well.

Now let me tell you that I and X and my parents and his parents run our households very similarly, similar routine, similar rules, overall we are very similar people with very similar lifestyles, eat similar foods, like similar stuff etc. And DD was not a difficult child ( a bit difficult teeanger though), i tend to think that transition problems are typical problems that very child deals wiht.

i also think that no matter how we put it, children of divorce are under stress going to different households and it manifests in their misbehavior. when DD was with me she cried for her dad, but when she was wiht dad she missed me. It is too much for children to handle. and if parents have different rules in their households it must be twice as hard for children.

Your SS has two households and it is a lot to juggle, that's why 50/50 is considered by child psychologists a stressful arrangement. Parents like it, but it is tough for the kids at young age. I would go crazy if I have to go between two households, what do we expect of young children?


 o
RE: Transition days...anyone else have issues?

"Parents like it, but it is tough for the kids at young age"

I totally agree that DH and BM put their wants ahead of what was best for SS.

They split when he was 10 months old or so, and right from the start did 50-50. I am personally a believer in both parents having equal custody time because I think it is best for the child(ren). BUT I think the way in which time is divided needs to be chosen wisely so that it has a minimal impact on the child.

The schedule they followed for 5 years was terrible IMO.

DH had his son every Tues night and every Thurs night. BM had him every Mon night and every Wed night. The weekends were split----so DH would have him Fri night one week, while BM had him Sat and Sun night. Then the following week it was reversed so BM would have him on Fri night, and DH would have him Sat and Sun.

This basically amounted to SS switching houses pretty much every other day. It was WAY TOO MUCH.

When they went to court, the GAL said this is just not going to work and HE wanted them to do a week by week split, with exchanges every Monday.

BUT neither DH nor BM wanted to go that long without seeing their son, so the GAL proposed the 5-5-2-2 split, which is a common alternative.

I personally still think it's a lot of moving around BUT it is at least better than that every other day crap!


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Stepfamily Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here