Long distance parenting happens for a number of different reasons. Children feel lonely when their parents are away from home. Whether it is temporary or permanent, physical separation should not be the reason for parent-child bonding to stop.
Parenting from miles away is not as hard as it used to be. Time and effort must be invested to keep a strong family relationship and ensure a child’s emotional security. These pointers should help keep long distance parenting healthy.
1. Constant communication. There is no reason not to be able to keep communication lines open with the technology available today. Make use of the internet to chat and make video phonecalls. It is the cheapest and fastest way to communicate with your child. Regular communication helps you keep updated with each others’ activities.
Set a time each day/week/month, to put work aside and just chat. Give your full attention to your child. You can talk about what happened during the day, read a bedtime story, help your kid with homework or just play online games with your child.
2. Add a personal touch. Even with your daily online dates, you must not forget about the traditional means of communication such as snail mail and the telephone (or cellphone). These communication methods are more memorable and special because of their less ‘virtual’ feel.
Your voice can be heard clearer and the conversation is more spontaneous over the phone. Additionally, tangible letters can be kept and re-read over and over by your child. If your child is too young to read, you can send small fun items like stickers or recordable greeting cards and postcards.
3. Do not feel guilty. Making up for your physical absence does not include spoiling your child. There may be times when you’ll be tempted to send gifts because you feel guilty. Or you may give in to your child’s requests over the phone, even if it was already decided upon otherwise by the other parent earlier.
Don’t let your parenting principles be swayed by guilt feelings. As with regular ‘home-based’ parents, any kind of material indulgence or permission lenience must be discussed between both parents for agreement first. Then they must stick to their final decision.
4. Come Home. If you are away because of work, make use of your vacation time to come home. You child would be happy for the physical reinforcement after all the virtual contact you’ve made. It’s ideal to come home during a special day such as a birthday or during Christmas, but a surprise homecoming is also exciting!
If you are long distance parenting because of a relationship problem with the other parent, it would be polite to arrange a visitation schedule to spend some time with your child. A child will feel more secure knowing that you will always be there even if you no longer live in one home.
Parents and children missing one another can be overcome. Long distance parenting allows you to support your child and the other parent emotionally with presence other than physical.