When Zack was 7, his transition anxiety was especially apparent. Missy blamed Sam, as always, even though Sam assured her Zack calmed down as soon as they left her driveway. Missy would sometimes call Sam’s cell phone when she knew he was on his way to pick up Zack. She would put Zack on the phone to tell Sam that didn’t want to go to his Dad’s house. When Sam asked Zack why, Zack usually could not come up with an answer. On one occasion though, 7 year old Zack cited his reason for rejecting his time at his Dad’s house as not wanting Melanie, Sam’s girlfriend, to hug him anymore. Sam asked why and Zack replied, “She’s not my real family.” Sam and Melanie married soon after, but the damage was done. Melanie was careful not to cross any lines that Zack might interpret (and report to Missy) as too affectionate. And Zack was empowered to dismiss Melanie as a parent.