Dear Dr. Jann: My kids are with me and my ex on a 50/50 basis. I find it very hard to get their clothing back and it’s tough when they don’t have enough clothing here. My kids are 5 and 7. Please help!
Dr. Jann says: One of the most common complaints I hear is about children’s clothing. Parents tell me, “I buy the clothes and I never see them again. They’re my clothes!”
Truth is, they are the kids’ clothes and not returning them is actually a passive aggressive attempt at control. It all boils down good communication between homes and your ability to problem solve together as co-parents. Look for a solution together by discussing your expectations and how you both would like to achieve that goal. If you can’t, a 50/50 parenting plan is not practical. It will be detrimental for your children.
I have been working with divorced parents for over 20 years, but much of what I know comes from living it. I have four kids-two bio, two bonus. My two bonus kids went back and forth between their mother’s home and ours for 15 years. My bonus son rarely wore his “good” clothes, yet his mom and I would each keep them at our house and not return them. We both wanted something nice available if there was a special occasion. One day when we were moving, I was cleaning out my bonus son’s closet and found a pair of “good” pants hanging in the closet. They were boys size 8. My bonus son was then 15 and 6’1”. I laughed at how ridiculous we had been. I was grateful that we had progressed to positive problem solving.
Put your children first—not their clothes. Make your child’s transition from house to house easier by openly looking for the compromise—and then stick to it.