Here are some of our suggestions for keeping your child's clothing!
Is there anything more infuriating than purchasing new clothes for school only to never see them again? It’s a small problem with big consequences. The headache of realizing the new school shoes you purchased are gone. Or the new pair of jeans you bought have never made it back to your house.
Kids need stuff. They need it at both houses and when custody is shared, it's like they are living out of a suitcase in a sense.
It's not limited to clothing either. In addition to clothes and shoes, they may also have:
- School supplies
- Stuffed Animals
- Medical devices or medicine
- Favorite toys
- Phones & Chargers
- Hair care products
- Musical equipment
The back-and-forth to the two homes, is an opportunity for the narcissist to be selfish and vindictive. And if they know it gets to you, they will steal items just to make it tougher on you. Remember, they love chaos and they love to have power over you. Making you run around to get a "forgotten" item is just their kind of fun. It's sick, I know.
Often, clothing purchased for the children disappears forever in the black hole of the narc's home. Where are those new shoes you purchased? Where are the jeans you just bought? They are likely being held hostage at the other parent's house. How do we prevent this from happening? Below are our strategies for managing the clothing exchange.
- Change right away! When the kids arrive, assess their clothes. If they are clothes from the other home, have the kids change into clothing you purchased that are at your house.
- Wash the other parents's clothes immediately. Just pretend that their clothes are covered in narcissistic kooties and must be washed immediately. Fold them and put them into a bag or tote that is designated for the other parent. My own kids call it the "divorce box"
- Put the bag or tote of washed clothes somewhere that you won't forget. We recommend a phone calendar reminder for yourself to have the kids wear the clothes from the other parent. Worst case: put the clothes in your car so th kids can change on the way if you forgot at home.
Train your children to bring back the clothing that belongs to you. If you drop them off with a coat, ask them to bring it with them when they return.
One parent writes:
When I pick up the kids from school on Monday afternoon, I wash, fold and evaluate those outfits. If any of their clothing is mine then I separate those clothes. I keep "my" clothes and send the kids in a "Friday outfit" made up of dad's clothing. I drop them off at school in dad's outfits.
Over time, I've been able to get back many of the outfits that he stole. Sometimes I wouldn't have a complete outfit to travel back to dad's. When that happens, I will send them in clothing I don't mind losing. I’ve even go so far as to have the children change back into their dad’s outfit in the car.
NEVER send the kids to the other parent's house in clothes that you aren’t okay with losing.