Tips For When You Have To Be A Long Distance Parent

Tips for when you have to be a long-distance parent

When two adults choose to co-parent in different households, the logistics of this arrangement can get complicated quickly. For example, it is not uncommon for parents to relocate due to work, educational pursuits, medical needs or a remarriage.

As a result, many parents may be compelled to endure child custody arrangements that require them to parent from a distance for weeks or even months at a time. Long-distance parenting is undoubtedly challenging. However, it can also be rewarding and an opportunity to cultivate a relationship with your child in unique ways if you help the situation to unfold in loving and healthy ways.

Communicating with your children often and in truly connected ways is arguably the most important thing you can do to ensure that your long-distance parenting situation is successful for you and your children. If possible, try to speak to them by phone on a daily basis. But also find creative ways to stay in touch, such as sending care packages and recording their favorite books on CDs. That way, they have something to listen to when they miss your voice.

Also, understand that long-distance parenting is uniquely challenging in terms of balance. If you lecture or scold your children every time you call, they may start to react to your communication negatively even when you are outwardly kind and loving.

Conversely, if you are only ever bright and cheery on the phone, you will miss out on the opportunity to teach your kids valuable lessons about discipline, respect and accountability. Seeking balance between being an engaged parent in a joyful way and an engaged parent in every other way will help you forge strong bonds with your kids across the miles.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Long-Distance Parenting Is Hard On Us All,” Susan Stiffelman, Jan. 14, 2014


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