Living Between Two Homes: A Case Study
Alicia, 13, spends one weekend a month and a lot of the school holidays staying with her Dad. She says that it was difficult to start with but now she enjoys having two homes.
“My parents split up when I was 9 and Mum decided to move back up north to be near her family," Alicia explained. "Dad had to stay where we lived before because of his job, which was really hard. When we first moved I was really angry that Dad wasn’t coming with us and blamed my Mum for making us move. Now it is quite good as I like having my grandparents and aunt near us, and I get to go and stay with Dad a lot, too, and see my old friends."
Dad’s house“When I first went to stay with Dad it was really weird and it felt like he was living in somebody else’s house. It didn’t look anything like ours and it was decorated like an old person’s house. Dad was really excited having me to stay but I felt sad because he looked lonely all on his own.
“Also, he gave me a room that was mine but it wasn’t very nice. He had tried to make it look nicer but had decorated it all in pink like I was 6! I knew that he wanted to make me happy so I didn’t say anything but I think he knew.”
Making it a home“My Dad asked me what I didn’t like about my room and I told him I was too old to have it all in pink. So he took me out and bought some new paint and painted it blue and yellow which was a lot of fun. He also let me pick out a duvet and curtains that were really cool.”
Alicia says that helping her Dad decorate the house made her feel good and it soon felt more like a home. (See our article Making a Home Away from Home for Your Child.)
“After I had been to visit Dad three or four times it felt a lot more normal. The house looked a lot better and I left a few things there so I didn’t have to take everything with me when I went to stay. Dad seemed much happier and we had a lot of fun going shopping together, trying to put furniture together and laughing when it all went wrong.”
Living Between Two Homes“Now I go to see Dad quite a lot and in the school holidays I stay with him for a few weeks at a time. It’s really nice to see Dad but I also get to catch up with the friends that I left behind. I have made friends in my new school, too, so I feel like it has all worked out quite well.
“Although I spend more time at my Mum's, I feel like I have two homes and feel just as happy at both of them. They are different – Dad’s not such a good cook and Mum makes me go to bed earlier – but both are home.”Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.