How to Adjust to Moving In with Another Parent in a New Town

Five Parts:Packing and UnpackingShopping for New Clothes, Furniture, etc.Getting SettledGoing to a New SchoolCoping

If your parents have divorced or moved apart, and you're in the situation of having to move in with another parent in a new town, it can be hard to make the adjustments. You'll be facing having to create a whole new routine and finding your way around everywhere. Here are some suggestions for how you might ease into getting adjusted and starting over in this new way of living.

Part 1
Packing and Unpacking

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    Go through your wardrobe. Pick out the clothes you know fit or you know you'll wear. Don't worry, a new place and living arrangement means you can shop for new clothes later.
    • Leave behind any relevant things that you'll be using if you're returning to this parent's house sometimes, and are not needed where you're headed. For example, if one parent has moved to Alaska and you're leaving Southern California, leave the warm weather wear for your return.
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    Pack only what's yours. Moving from one parent to another parent's house means no bringing any of your borrowed jewelry or borrowed clothes from your mom or dad. If there is something of the sort you want to take, ask first.
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    Go through your house looking for anything that's yours. The might include souvenir cups, shoes lying around, magnets, books, etc. Decide whether or not you want to take these with you. If you're leaving this parent's house for good, it's probable you'll want them but if it's a case of moving between both places, then maybe some things can stay behind. Ask your parent to take good care of them in this case.
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    Make sure that the boxes are labeled well. This helps when you unpack everything, as it's easier to know what is in each one. Don't throw lots of different things into one box or you won't be able to find anything later.

Part 2
Shopping for New Clothes, Furniture, etc.

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    Ask your parent to take you shopping for any necessities, such as clothes, toiletries, furniture for your new room, or food. This might include stocking the pantry with the food items you like the most and finding clothing that suits the local climate, especially if you don't own any of the right sorts of clothing.
    • When clothes shopping be sure to only pick out things you absolutely love. New house means a new you right?
    • When grocery shopping, don't hesitate to tell which foods you like and don't like at all.
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    Get bedroom furniture if it isn't already supplied. If there is already furniture there, ask for your own soft furnishings and bedding choices, so that you can really make the new room your own.
    • Arrange all of your own items brought from your other house around the room, to make it your very own place.

Part 3
Getting Settled

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    Don't be embarrassed to ask for anything you need, or want. After all, you're going to be living with your parent for a while, so you might as well get comfortable. You can even trust your step-parent if needed.
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    Get used to any siblings you move in with, whether they be older or younger and no matter their exact relationship to you (step/half/adopted, etc.). You don't want them to think of you as a stranger, so get to know them and spend time with them too.
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    Get used to your parent's schedule, it's probably different than your other parent's that you're used to. Then, you'll know what times to ask things, when they'll be home, when they're sleeping, when they're picking your sibling up from a sport, and so forth.
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    Get to know their rules. Now, you don't have to sit them down and ask, "What are your rules?". This can be simple, just ask before doing things, and see whether they say yes, no, or are iffy about it. Ask for curfew before going out, and always tell them before leaving the house, even if it's just to take a walk.
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    Do chores. Ask if you can help with dinner, do the dishes, put away groceries (even if you don't know where they go at first), walk the dog, take out the trash, etc.
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    Get used to where everything is. Food, dishes, napkins, etc. If you're living there, you need to know where to grab something. (It even helps just to stare at the cabinets and refrigerator for a bit.)

Part 4
Going to a New School

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    Have courage. Going to a new school can be scary, especially when you're not the most social person. Don't worry though; they won't all shun you, and you can always contact your old friends.
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    Learn the rules and dress code before walking in on the first day. That way you're more prepared and won't be caught off guard if you get in trouble. It can be helpful to have an orientation tour before school starts; ask your parent to arrange this for you.
    • Walk in on sign-up day and take a stroll around so you know which classes are yours and which locker is yours and how to get to each in time.
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    See if anyone you know goes there. Whether it be family, friends that moved, or just someone you've met before so they can show you around and help at school. Even a friend of a friend or cousin can be a good way to start getting to know people, so ask people you do know if there is anyone they could put you in touch with.
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    Make friends. Get involved by joining sports, getting phone numbers, inviting people over, etc. Be friendly and pleasant to everyone.
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    Have a sleepover. There's never a bad time for one. If possible, invite all your old friends over and your new ones so they can mix and you can create a bigger friend group. But if this isn't possible, invite your new friends over so that you can get to know one another better outside of the school context.

Part 5

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    Know how to keep your grades up at a new school, make friends, do chores, get along with everyone, and have free time to get used to everything. It's simple, if you know the trick. The trick, is actually pretty easy. If you're reluctant about moving in with new parent, develop a new outlook about it. A new life, a time to start over. You'll get new clothes, furniture, experiences, and a new city. It's all exciting if you have the right mindset.
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    Create a schedule. Start out with how early you have to get up. Do you have to fight for the bathroom in the morning? Get up early. Do you need to get up for practice on weekends? make sure you know what times you can get everything done so you're not rushed before school. After school, immediately do your homework and chores so that you have time for other things. Leave a little break and free time. It'll put less stress and more normality into your night.
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    Use your free time wisely. Text your friends to come over, watch TV, even spend time with your siblings and/or step-siblings.
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    Be home in time for dinner, even if no one's cooking. They may want to go out, want you to babysit unexpectedly, or help with something.
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    Ask before school if your family has planned anything that day. Then you have something to look forward to, and don't accidentally make plans with friends or anything of that sort.
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    Do not invade your parent's or new family's space. You moved in, but you can't just do anything you feel like. Don't hog the living room, invite too many friends over, be loud, or leave a mess for anyone to clean up. It'll take time before you know what you can and can't do within the new family structure.
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    Respect your siblings and parents. Never go into their rooms if they're not okay with it, never watch the show they hate when they're around, and don't do things without permission. The most common way to make your parents mad when moving in is thinking they're the parent that will let you do whatever you want and not care.


  • If your parents work nights, or need you to babysit while at work, make sure you don't invite anyone over and they don't have anyone over.
  • It was most likely your choice to move in with this parent, and if you're unhappy with them there's no going back. You have to make sure the parent you're moving in with is going to make you happier than your current one.
  • This parent obviously doesn't know how you feel about certain things like the other one that raised you does. Tell them your opinions or feelings when needed, so that there's no confusion or unneeded anger.
  • Even if you are unhappy with living with them, make the best out of it and don't lock yourself in your room. They'll most likely be confused, and acting out is no way to solve problems.

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Categories: Moving House and Packing