A Divorced Child's Guide to Living in Two Homes
When I was 12 years old, my parents sat my brother and I down to tell us that they were getting a divorce. 13 years have passed since my parents separated and along the way I’ve picked up some tips and tricks on how to make the most of being a child of divorce. So this is my divorced child's guide to living in two houses. If you have children who are going through this, or about to, this is what I would tell them.
When my parents broke the news to us, they gave my brother and I a small blank notebook to write down and ask any questions we may have. My brother wrote down many useful questions. What happens if I leave something at mom's house when I’m at dad's? Can I call dad when I’m at mom's house? Will Lucy (our family dog) stay at one house, or travel with us?
I only had one question. Will dad's house have Wi-Fi?
Although this may seem like a meaningless and silly question now, having the freedom to ask these questions helped to give my brother I peace of mind. Lots of changes were coming our way and although my parents were unable to predict everything that would happen, it was a comfort to hear what they did know.
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One benefit that came out of my parent's divorce was that I got a cell phone much earlier than originally intended. I was obviously excited to text my friends and show off my new gadget. But as I got older, I appreciated the freedom to call my dad while at my mom's house or text my mom while at my dad's. This also helped to develop my personal relationships with each parent which has carried into adulthood.
When going back and forth between houses, you will be transporting your clothes and belongings in a suitcase or bag. Don't live out of that suitcase! When you get to each house, unpack and make that house your home. It will not only make you feel more at peace, but will also make your parent feel like you’re truly comfortable in the house.
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Have you ever wanted to completely redecorate your bedroom without taking on the task of clearing everything out, only to replace it? Well, a bright side of being a child of divorce is that you have the chance to have two bedrooms! Decorate them both however you want! For me, one room was full of posters ranging from One Direction to my favourite YouTubers. It had peace sign bed sheets and a fluffy white carpet. My other room had pictures of my friends and I on the wall, a neutral bedspread, and a large dresser with little knick-knacks from recent vacations. Having two rooms gave me the chance to explore two different sides of my personality and make my two homes feel the most like me.
You should also keep a few staple items at each house, just in case you happen to forget or misplace the ones that travel in your suitcase. Some backup PJs, shirts, underwear, or even a backup toothbrush are always helpful to have at both homes.
Divorce is a hard and scary thing for a child of any age. That child should know that their feelings and emotions are valid. Good times are on the horizon and I hope these tips make a child's transition in a divorce easier.
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