1. Don’t say mean things about my other parent. I want to love you both!
2. When you criticize my other parent, it makes me angry at you.
3. Don’t make me pick who I want to spend time with—that’s not fair. Don’t keep track of my time like I’m on the clock. It can’t always be even.
4. Handle your financial conversations in private. I don’t want to hear about it and I don’t want to be your messenger.
5. Don’t use money to win my love. Be a stable and loving parent and I will love you no matter who has the “most” money.
6. Don’t keep me from seeing the other parent. If you do, I’ll grow up to resent you.
7. Get a counsellor to help you with your problems. I need you to be strong and stable for my well-being. I don’t want to hear about your dating and your problems at work or how much we are struggling financially. Talk to someone else. I need you to be my parent and mentor and lead me in the way you want me to grow up. Don’t make me be your parent.
8. The harder you make it on my other parent, the harder you are making it on me.
9. Laugh and smile. I want to enjoy my life, and your mood impacts my mood. Find a way to enjoy your life. I need to have fun and make enjoyable memories with you.
10. Don’t forget that I have a divided heart now. I live between two completely different houses, rules, traditions, and attitudes. Be patient with me when I forget things or need some time to adjust from house to house. Please buy me enough stuff so I don’t have to live out of a suitcase my whole life. If you want me to feel “at home” in both places, please set up a full home for me, even if I am only there a few days a month. Have toothbrushes, shoes, clothes, my favourite cereal, and cool décor in my room. These all help me feel welcome and at home in both homes. Don’t compete or argue about these things. Just help me not have to feel like a visitor when I am with either parent.