INcrease connectivity with your child!

Texting can be a way to communicate and help you gain insight in their interests and life occurrences!  For some parents, there may be the challenge of being geographically distant from their children. How can a parent really be a parent when they are living far away, and they can only see their kids on summer vacations and holidays?

Technology has an array of ways to stay in touch with your child.  Take advantage of the systems available and a method that works for you and your child.  An added bonus,  talking, texting or emails may solicit more facts and feelings about hard to discuss topics instead of talking in person.

Texting may be a more productive way to learn about their day and events in their life. Even if you are in the same house or room-try texting something silly to your daughter/son and see how you can go back and forth. Initial texts may open the doors to asking about how school was that day. And, you may receive more than a one-word answer than if you asked in person or started texting about school.

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INcrease connectivity and call/text at the same time each day.
 Consistency is important in establishing security in children and adolescents.  Contacting your child at the same time each day lessens the anxiety of “I never know when will I hear from my parent” thoughts.  Your child may act put out having an “established time” however, try not calling/texting and see the reaction.  Your child seeming less than thrilled to hear from you is normal behavior.  

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Real Life Experience

Same Time-Next Time

This is an observation in a shopping mall. 

Standing in line to check-out, two adolescents were talking when one of their cell phones range. One of the young ladies taking her phone out, showing her friend, seemed to say proudly “this is my dad-he calls the same time everyday”.  

She took the call and talked several minutes, ignoring her friend!

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Take home message:

Calling the same time offers a sense of security. This also takes the guess work out of when they are available.

Perhaps, establish a predetermined time that works for both of you.

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INrease time together. Watch TV shows together. 

When one parent relocates or travels a lot the parent/child relationship has a tendency to be more formal.  Time together is scheduled which leaves little room for spontaneity that naturally happens when living in the same home.

 

Talking on the phone while watching a favorite show or movie is a great way to enjoy time together and stay connected. 

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Real Life Experience

What are we watching?

In the movie Fargo, (movies are real life, right?) the film shows how a separated father stays connected with his son. Dad walks in the door, call his son and asks “what are we watching”. Put a sci-fi show on and they discuss what is happening.

 

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Take home message:

Connecting during the day is important. The means of communication is not as important as spending time together.

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INcrease time together by helping with homework. 

Communicate with the teacher/access on line homework sheets and work on assignments together.

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Real Life Experience

Home work time

A father I was working with stated  his daughter will stay home (primary residence) the next few Wednesdays. With difficulty in school, both parents agreed that their daughter staying home instead of seeing dad mid-week was best.

 

I explained to him that seeing a parent should not be conditional.  Sharing time with dad is a must and should not be used as a form of punishment.

 

Suggesting they maintain the mid-week visits and spend time working on homework was a doable solution. In essence, if the parents were not separated, helping with homework would be normal course anyway.

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Take home message:

Parents need to be involved in their child’s life.

Parenting in separate homes is still parenting.

Working on homework is a part of parenting. Why relinquish time together because schoolwork is suffering.  

 

 

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Real Life Experience

Parenting

A Family Court room observation: Mom diligently kept their 7-year-old son away from dad.  Excessive homework was cited as why midweek visits were not possible. And, that the son did not want to see dad.

 

Going before the judge this father brought a recording of their son running to greet his dad after a long separation. son running into his fathers’ arms after a separation.  A to verify that yes, his son

 

This judge saw through the mom’s ‘reason’.  Ruling in favor of time with dad with the clause that dad would focus on homework before doing other activities.

 

Dads excited response: “Thank you, your Honor. That is what I wanted anyway. I just want to be a dad to my son.  I want to spend time with him.”

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Take home message:

Non-resident parents want to be a part of their child’s life.