Tips for Long Distance Parenting
This following guest article was written by Richard Hemby who regularly writes about social science degrees and college related topics for Online College Guru, an online college degree guide.
Whether it is a divorce or a job commitment (such as the military) which has taken you away from your child, parenting from a long distance can be very difficult for you and your child. There are some things that you can do however that will ease this anxiety and keep you as an active parent in their life. The most important thing for a long distance parent to do is to maintain communication with your child.
Todayâ€™s technology allows us to communicate rather easily. Besides using the phone, text messaging, email, facebook, as well as online video and picture sharing are all easily accessible to both the parent and the child. Make a commitment to communicate with your child daily, whether it is a text message, an email or a phone call, regular communication is important. Start right away, call your child when you get to your new location, let them know you are okay. This will start things off on a good note.
Establish a routine with your child. Send them an email every morning; call them every Tuesday and Thursday evening after dinner, whatever works best for both of you. A child likes a routine, it reassures them. They will not be sitting around wondering when they will here from you, they know when they will. This takes away everyoneâ€™s anxiety.
Keep up with Their Life
Long distance parenting can easily make you feel disconnected with your child. Do everything that you can to stay current on their life. When you talk with them, donâ€™t just make small talk; ask them detailed questions about what they are doing now. This may take some practice on both of your parts. You will have to get skilled at asking the right questions without appearing to be meddling, and it will take the child some time to open up with you over the phone or through email. Just be persistent. You can use other avenues to learn about their life. Keep up with their facebook page; you would be surprised how much they open up in that forum. Keep a line of communication open with their school, find out how your child is doing and what school activities are coming up. Also it is best if you have maintained communication with the other parent. This is the best source of knowledge of what is going on in your childâ€™s life. Use this information to ask your child relevant questions about his/her life.
Also, you should reciprocate by sharing the new things in your life with them. Keep a running list of things you would like to share with your child, so you donâ€™t forget. When you call them, bring these things up in the conversation. If you are open with them, they will more likely be open with you. This also helps them stay connected with you.
Let them know you are always thinking about them, and that they are special to you. If they have a big test, or a big event coming up that they may be worried or even just excited about, send them a postcard letting them know that you are thinking of him/her. Children really like getting mail, and this will make them feel special.
Long distance parenting is a difficult adjustment for the parent and the child, but by committing to regular communication with the child, a lot of anxiety will be alleviated.