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Drop Off/Pickup exchamge, age appropriate expectations?

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Not sure how to word this necessarily, but looking on age appropriate drop off/pick up procedures.

Right now, when SK is dropped off or picked up, one of the parents (step or bio) walks her to the door and does the hand off.

This is becoming increasingly difficult as I have a small child with one on the way, to rally 2 other children in the car to go stand at the doorstep for a few minutes while she makes their way in the house. I feel like we're getting to the age now where SK can go up to the door and either ring and wait or let herself in, and any pertinent info can be texted to BM or her stepdad and vice versa.


(the alternative "argument" is that I CAN leave the car running with 2 kids in it, it's more a matter of when BM or BMs husband drops her off at our house, instead of her just coming in when arriving, I need to drop what I'm doing to go greet and chat for a minute when I've got young kids that need constant attention)

However; I think I am the only one out of the 4 parents/step-parents that thinks we're at the age already. She is elementary aged  (8) for reference, old enough to certainly walk from the car to the door, in my opinion.

tog redux's picture

At 8, she can walk from the car to the door, for crying out loud.  The others are being ridiculous. This is why kids don't leave home until they are 27 nowadays.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Yes, I brought it up to DH this morning and he agreed we could start pushing for this

Jcksjj's picture

I agree. My SD is the same age and when I mentioned once about BM just staying in the car when she does drop off my mom was horrified by that and I'm like, are you serious? It's not any different than dropping her off for school in the morning.

STaround's picture

Unless the other parent lives in a war zone, this is crazy.    if dad doesn't like it, why is HE not doing pickups in the first place!!!!

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Dad typically does pickups (or really the school bus does a lot of pick ups and drop offs during school), but sometimes he isn't home yet when BM drop offs happen. I will say, we aren't a disengaged family-- we have a decent relationship with BM and her husband, for now everyone pitches in and it's not that I mind BM or my SD being at the door-- just that I think she is old enough to walk herself and feel like we don't need a big "hand off" anymore like we did when she was much younger and less independent

STaround's picture

Tell BM or her DH, you will wait in the car until the front door opens and then send the kid out of the car.  This will only get worse when you have a newborn that you do not want out in cold, rain, etc. 


ETA -- if SD has a lot of stuff, she can make two trips.  

Trying to Stepmom's picture

8 is old enough to do it on her own. 

My DH was still walking her to the door and carrying all her shiz (while SD walked empty handed). He doesn't walk her to the door anymore but he still gets out of the car and helps her gather her things or opens the car doors for her to put her things in our car. 

I told him the other day that he needs to stop carrying her stuff. She's 13 and she can either carry it all herself or make multiple trips. 

Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine?

Petronella's picture

Oh don't get me started on the princesses who need mommy's or daddy's help to carry everything! That was my SDs reason for constantly having BM walk into our house with her- because SD couldn't possibly carry a backpack AND a Starbucks drink by herself! 

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

It's a pet peeve here as well, she has most of things she needs at both house so AT MOST we're talking a backpack for school and maybe a toy or something. Not really anything that warrants multiple trips or any help from the adults! There's what I would consider some discrepancy between our house and BM's in overall expectation when it comes to her, though. We do expect help with chores (ie laundry, dishes, carrying her stuff in/out of the car after school or outings) and it is clear BM still does all of this for her.

Cover1W's picture

Oh man, DH would carry BOTH SDs backpack, his, plus grocery bags sometimes. SDs carried nothing! At 7 and 9. He finally stopped when they made it to 4th/6th grade. I refused to help ever with it.

Cover1W's picture

That's because of THIS STalk! I started making boundaries as soon as I started getting feedback, and it worked. Plus, I just thought DH was ridiculously blinded by SDs who clearly took advantage.

ndc's picture

I look at it this way . . . On our days, my SD7 gets dropped off by the school bus (on our street but not right in front of the house). She manages to walk down the street, cross the street, walk up our driveway and let herself into the house, unsupervised, while carrying her backpack, her lunch box and any miscellany she's bringing from school that day (like her snowpants or boots that she isn't wearing). If she can do that, she can jump out of a car, walk to BM's door and wait to be let in under the watchful eye of an adult sitting in the car.  If my just-turned-7 SD can do it, an 8 year old can do it.  When SD4 is coming home from 4K on the bus, she will not be let off the bus unless there is an adult waiting for her at or near the bus stop. Our school district draws the line of "old enough to get off the bus and walk to house alone" at 1st grade; however,  I know SD4 could get herself from car to door at BM's with no problem - street crossing is the only issue.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

I didn't even consider this angle but you're absolutely right, the bus drop off is a longer walk than what we'd be asking her to do, and unsupervised! Granted, we live on the end of the street on a long cul-de-sac so our house is basically the first one at the stop, but still! If we lived at the end of the street, she'd have quite a little walk for her like the other kids do! And our buses don't require parental pick up and run K-5th grade so they expect a 5 year old can make it home. 

hereiam's picture

Eight is absolutely old enough to walk to and from the car on their own. Geez.

I walked to and from school on my own from kindergarten on. Seriously. Curb to door (or vice versa) is some kind of trauma?

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Same. Not the walking part, but rode the bus and had to walk to the end of the street starting at 5, and my parents didn't assist me. It's more of a sign of SD's lack of initiative or independence, which it seems like outside of our home-- all of the adults in her life go the extra mile to ensure she is never uncomfortable. Makes for a fun time when we have her (sarcasm), because we're now, by default, the mean house since we have rules and expectations.

tog redux's picture

Me too.  I walked down the street and around the corner to school when I was in Kindergarten and I didn't even turn 5 until October of that year.  Nowadays of course, my mother would have CPS called on her. 

I'm sure most of the parents walk or drive their kids to the OP's bus stop - I see that when I walk my dog in the morning.  Like Precious is going to get kidnapped from the suburbs walking to the bus.

OP - do you think BM just likes the chance to chit chat and transition the child? I hear that you get along well, but is there a bit of control in this for her, too?

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

It's hard to tell with her, honestly. For some background context, SD was very young when her dad and I started dating and like most of the Disney dads/ BM stories here-- everything was "for the sake of the child" the first 1-1.5 years where BM was heavily involved in what went on at dads house and there were lengthy exchanges where she'd need the rundown of when she ate, what she ate, when she pooped, what her mood was like, what happened at school or pre-k, what she snacked on, what all they did, etc.  DH followed suit and then as others took over some of the exchanges, they too engaged in this type of communication

As SD has aged, and as we (all of the adults, BM remarried) allowed time to pass-- it's less rigid now and when it comes to pick up and drop offs, it could be any combination of people doing it. BM or her husband, BM's parents, BM's husbands parents, DH, me, etc--- everyone has seem to hit a medium where we've moved past the awkwardness and so has our extended families. Plus a lot of it is avoided during the school year, but still some instances, maybe a couple times a month, where one of us need to go do a pick up or drop off.

In saying that, like I mentioned earlier, BM and her side of the family are all heavily invested in protecting SD and being very sensitive to not doing things that will upset her.  DH was going along with this in the early days, until I found STalk and read some books about blended families and told him prior to getting married that I would not marry a Disney Dad nor would I have children with a man that couldn't put boundaries in place, so over the past several years we've morphed into the house that SD doesn't want to come to or there's definitely the fun house, which is not ours at the moment.

So, BM (or whoever) does the big handoff when there's not a bus stop situation and makes sure SD is sufficiently hugged/kissed/fawned over before our weekend begins. Which honestly up until recently wasn't really an issue, I didn't really care and was fine to chit chat with BM-- but now that our family is growing, and SD is an only child at the other house, there's just more of a need for her to be more independent with us and I think she's at an age where she can be trusted with more independence and critical thinking opportunities.

tog redux's picture

So then yes - some of this is BM's control issues. Again, I hear you guys get along well, but her fawning over SD at exchanges and not having any rules in her home is likely a way to make sure SD prefers her and feels bad when she leaves her.

BethAnne's picture

I would just do want you want for drop offs at BMs house unless there is specific wording in the court order saying otherwise (child must be supervised to the front door or something ridiculous). 

Let her walk to the door on her own (probably best for her Dad to do this the first few times so that you are not in the firing line if BM decides to have issues with this). I would praise SD as a big girl who is so grown up to walk to the door herself. Then I would imagine that after a little while SD may start asking BM if she can walk to your front door on her own, or perhaps BM will decide that it would be easier for her to stay in the car too. 

Rags's picture


There is nothing to push for on this.  Just inform SD-8 and DH that she has to walk herselft to and from the door and the car when she is dropped off or picked up.

This should not even be a thing IMHO.

ESMOD's picture

If the door is line of sight.. there is nothing wrong with SD making the walk up to her house.  Unless she has some horrible load of stuff to tote.. she should be fine.

You could also have a set up where you text that you are there.. wait for mom to come to the door and then let her out of the car to walk from car to door with mom waiting.