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Ask Amy: Grandson’s clothing can’t travel between divorced parents’ homes

4 min

Dear Amy: I have an 18-year-old grandson, a senior in high school, who divides his time living with each of his parents half-time.

He and I were out shopping at Christmastime, and it seemed as if he was in need of clothes. He was very happy to find some clothes that fit and looked good on him, which he appreciated.

His father established that the clothes that came from one parent needed to stay with that parent. This applied to his new clothes, too. He was not allowed to take these clothes to his father’s house unless they were intended to stay at his father’s house and was not allowed to enjoy them at his mother’s house. I wanted him to feel good about himself and agreed to purchase extra clothes so he could have new clothes at both houses.

I guess I am writing because I think that this arrangement is very detrimental to any child/teenager caught between two households. Next year he will be going away to college. Legally, I think, he can decide at a certain age as to where he would like to live. I don’t think he is strong enough to choose one parent over the other.

I am just sorry he is in this situation. Going forward, I am wondering how he will keep track of which clothes came from which house. Do you have any thoughts or suggestions?

— Concerned Grandparent

Concerned: Keeping track of clothing is a common problem with divorced parents who share custody. Some parents have the frustrating experience of their kids’ clothes and shoes disappearing into a black hole while at the other parent’s home. Savvy parents label clothing and help their children to organize and account for their items when moving to the other home.

This sounds exhausting and frustrating for everyone — but especially for the child, who ultimately carries this physical and emotional burden back and forth from house to house. You were kind and thoughtful to get two sets of clothes for him. Insisting on this strict clothing split with an older teen seems needlessly controlling, and almost impossible to strictly maintain.

At 18, your grandson is legally an adult, and I assume he could “graduate” from this arrangement if he chose to. Regardless, it might be best for him to stick it out until he graduates from high school. I hope he chooses to go away for college, where he will learn a new set of life skills, without the need to organize his life in this way and shuttle between two sets of parents.

Dear Amy: My husband and I have a toddler, and I’m pregnant with our second child. My husband works in a challenging industry and sometimes works long hours. He occasionally attends after-work events, as he claims he needs to do this to advance at his job. I understand all of this and see how it can be important to socialize with colleagues or clients. However, he has been going out much more lately, and it is seriously disruptive to our family’s life. I am essentially on my own at home, while he comes and goes.

Last week, he went out after work, and when I woke up with our toddler at 3 a.m., I saw that he still wasn’t home. I called him and asked him to come home, and he did. Now he’s acting as if I owe him an apology for interfering with his social life. I am starting to worry about our future as a family. I guess I need a second opinion.

— Worried

Worried: My opinion is that your husband is behaving like a man who really does not want to be home, and he is using his job to justify his failings as a husband and father. There is no valid reason for him to be out at 3 a.m., and you should not have to “ask” him to come home. Furthermore, you do not owe him an apology.

He needs to grow up, and for your family’s sake, I hope he does.

Dear Amy: You were not tough enough responding to “Really Tired,” who puts up with the mean and bullying jokes their partner makes at their expense. This is emotional abuse, and if he doesn’t stop, the writer should get out.

— Been There

Been There: These “jokes” aren’t funny, and although he and his family seem to trade mean jabs with each other, he shouldn’t do so with his partner.

© 2024 by Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.