Effective Long Distance Parenting
Long distance parenting issues should be addressed when the divorced parents live far away from each other. The shorter the distance, the better for the children because they can switch from home easier.
This article explains how children of divorce are affected if one parent lives far away. It gives a long list of tips and hints about how the problems that result from the physical distance between a divorced parent and the children can be managed in a positive way.
Divorced parents should stop fighting over the children. If they collaborate, long distance parenting can be successful.
When parents divorce, they will go and live in different places. If they stay in the same neighborhood, the children can transit easily from one parent to the other every few days.
However, many times one of the parents go live too far away to make this possible. Children cannot go to 2 schools, so they will live physically with one of the 2 parents.
This does not mean that the parent that lives far away, cannot do his part of the parenting. The parents can still mutually decide on the important issues concerning the children: the school, the education, the social clubs, the health care and in some occasions the religion.
If the parents keep each other up to date about the lives and the development of their children, co-parenting can be very effective.
Which parent moves away?
A person can decide to move to a distant place for many reasons: work, a new relationship or wanting to live closer to family members (their parents for example) that need support.
It is not always the parent that leaves the house that moves away. People are moving all the time. The average time a family stays in the same house in the U.S. is less than 5 years. In Europe it is about 7.
Impact on children of long distance parenting
“Being there” for your children is very important for them. Many children of divorce feel abandoned by their parents.
The relationship with the distant parent is more organized, more formalized. A distant parent and his child need to make appointments about when and how you will visit or contact each other.
Sharing events like attending a sports game of a child or a special event at school with the away parent becomes more difficult. Usually the distant parent cannot come over for a Wednesday evening event because it is just too far away
The intimacy can be reduced dramatically. The distance make both the parent and the children less knowledgeable about each other. They become less aware of what they are doing, of what keeps them busy.
Mothers and fathers have different perspectives. Children need both of these perspectives for an optimal development.
The children of divorce may loose contact with the family of the distant parent. They are vulnerable to social isolation, so it is important to pay attention to this.
Traveling back and forth to the distance parents takes time and energy. The children might experience this as a burden
Visiting the distant parents can be difficult if there is not enough money to pay for frequent travelling
If they travel to the distant parent in weekends, they will be limited to participate in sports in the weekends.
Feeling abandoned. By the parent that moved away, feeling guilty if the child moves away from the parents that stays behind.
Long distance parenting tips
Both parents must must do their part to maintain the relationship between the children and the distant parent The distant parent should maintain good communication with the children The ex partners should maintain good communication with each other
- Frustration, anger, pain and other emotions stand in the way of a good communication between ex partners.
- It is important to set aside these emotions and to focus on the common goal: the well being of the children. Define specific goals with your ex partner and with your children and direct your time and energy on those positive objectives.
- Divorced parents should not play the blame games
- Divorced parents should not fight over the kids
- They should maintain a constant flow of information
- They should keep regular, frequent contact via phone or email.
- The distant parent should keep regular contact via phone or email with the children
- Divorced parents should communicate directly with each other and not via your children
- Both parents need to know the persons that are important in the lives of their children: teachers, neighbors, friends, a step parent.
- The parent are responsible to take the initiative to stay in touch with the children
- Parents need to keep their promises
- Parents should have real conversations with your children: ask open questions. Like: what did you do at the football game? Did you have fun? What did you like about it? What did you not like about it? What can you improve to do better next time? What can the team do to improve?
- Divorced parents should not gossip about their ex with their children. They must avoid talking about their ex as if he or she is a bad person
- Parents should give compliments to their children. They should let them know that they are proud of them when they are
- The distant parent can connect with their children on one or more social media like Facebook and share their life
- They can use modern technology to contact their children: email, Skype etc.
- Distant parents should send them sometimes a postal mail
- They should send them a gift now and then. These days it is easy to send a present via a web shop or service. Many children like to receive a credit to download music from the internet
- A parent should share one or more areas of interest: a hobby, a sports team. They should read some of the books their children read
- A distant parent should support child with his hobbies and sports
- The parent at distance should support your children with their home work. With the modern technology, this can be done from everywhere
- The distant parent should meet with the children as much as possible
- Parents living at great distance should meet face-to-face with their ex to evaluate the parenting from time to time.
Tips for the custodial parent
- The custodial parent should support the relationship of the children with their other parent. They should not frustrate the long distance parenting. The children deserve to stay in touch with both parents. Besides, the other parent has to do his share of the parenting too.
- The custodial parent should be positive about their ex partner, not giving negative feedback to their children
- They should support the long distance parent to stay in touch. They should make time available, make connecting as easy as possible.
- The custodial parent should give privacy to the children when the children communicate by phone or email or otherwise with the distant parent.
- He or she should share information with the long distance parent
- The custodial parent should place a picture of the other parent in the childrens bedrooms
- Both parents must be committed to the parenting plan. They should be flexible and understanding towards their ex.
- Custodial parents should make it easy for their children to visit the other parent
- Custodial parents should make it crystal clear to the children that they want them to visit and spend time with their other parent.
These tips make long distance parenting easier and more effective. By keeping in touch with the children, the children will soon leave their feelings of abandonment behind them. A positive attitude and a constructive approach towards the future will leave the frustrations and pain behind and will bring joy and happiness instead.
By implementing these tips, your children learn that they are important to you. Not because of what you say, but because of your actions. Long distance parenting can bring positive results