After a divorce one of the parents might move away. They might need to get away from the location that holds so many memories for them, moving back in with family, or a job offer in a different locale. Whatever the reason, that distance creates problems with maintaining a relationship with your children if you are the parent who lost the kids in the divorce.
And it’s not just the kids: long-distance parenting guilt is a thing. So, how can you be a loving parent when you live far away from the kids after a divorce?
It is still possible to be a loving mom or dad when you live far away from your kids. You didn’t (hopefully) plan for all this to happen and you probably could have done more in the past, but you’re here now. Be the best parent you can be now. How can you be the best parent you can be when you live away from your children? Perhaps the following long-distance parenting tips can help.
Don’t presume your children understand it all. They are the only parties who didn’t do anything to bring a divorce into their life. They certainly don’t deserve the consequences. Try to understand their perspective. You were young once. Remember when something happened to you when you were young and you really thought it was the end of the world. You didn’t have the experience you have now. Your children need you to help them come to grips with this and carry on becoming adults.
Some children do end up blaming themselves for such things that they do not have any responsibility for after a divorce occurs. That’s a tragedy. They’re just kids. Their experience only ranges a few years but life, for them, includes a family ripped apart by divorce. Help them by being a stable influence.
Take a trip to see them
Scheduling and preparing to see your children when you live far away will be a herculean task. Especially with your new schedule and life pressures. It is, however, very important for your kids to know they are not trash to be “kicked to the curb of life.” When you make the effort for them, it helps. They probably won’t understand all that has happened but it helps.
Further, it isn’t necessary to visit every holiday or special event. They might want to spend time with the parent they live with. But, face to face isn’t the only mode of showing you care.
Think about them
Think about what your children are doing. Learn what is going on at school. Ask about their friends and their activities. What are they involved in or with? Sports, video games, debate, nature, computers? Take pictures of what you’re doing and send them to your child with notes using digital media or, an old-fashioned letter or perhaps some cards with pictures noting personalized thoughts will help them sort out their new life.
Pray for them and their current activities in addition to their future adventures. Their friends and future spouses. Also, pray for your “ex.” They (you as well) need all the help you can get.
If you do the above, you can say truthfully that you are thinking and praying for them. It’s a nice feeling.
Stay in Contact
Let your kids know where you will be moving to and why. Let them understand how they can get into contact with you. It will help with feelings of abandonment.
Make them aware of any issues with time zones, schedule conflicts, etc., but always make them aware of your willingness to be in their life. Do all you can to keep the lines of communication open.
Keep the connection alive
You were involved in your children’s life, do what it takes to be available. Invite them to call you at any time of the night or the day (with permission if necessary.) Give them your address as well as a telephone number. Send your children a pre-paid phone card if the long-distance charges are an issue for the parent they’re living with.
You really need to make a resolution with yourself to be in contact with them a minimum of every couple of days if possible, even if it is only to talk for a couple of minutes. If scheduling is an issue, again, write letters. They are physical and will show that you set aside time for them.
It isn’t about things (your kids might disagree…)
Some parents that live far away from their kids feel the only way to reveal they care is to try and buy their favor with expensive presents. That’s not what they are thinking. Your children want to understand that you like them and that you love them whatever the distance.