Parenting your child is difficult after a divorce, and it becomes even more difficult in the event you or your former spouse moves. How do you communicate effectively with the other parent? How can you show your child love and consistency when you can’t be there in person? At Wall Legal Solutions, we are here to guide you through this tricky process.
The most important thing you can do for your child when you become a long-distance parent is to be consistent. Your child needs to know that you’re reliable and that they can count on you. This builds their trust and keeps your relationship with them strong. Some examples of consistent parenting include:
- Call or video chat at the same time every week. Keeping a regular schedule helps your child feel secure.
- Keep in touch daily via phone calls, messaging, or texts.
- Know your child’s daily schedule and say “good night” before bed and wish them a good day before school.
- Encourage your child to do homework and offer to video chat if they need help.
Maintain an Amicable Relationship with the Other Parent
You don’t need to be best friends or even friends with your former spouse, but you do need to be amicable. Be friendly, courteous, and supportive with the other parent. If he or she is the one who moved, it’s easy to be angry with them for taking your child. You need to put that anger aside if you want to have a good relationship with your child. Communicate with them and be willing to compromise. Express your needs, and check in with them at least once a week, especially during your time with your child.
Make the Most of Your Visits
When your child visits, you need to make these times memorable and enjoyable for both you and your child. Make sure your visits are scheduled in advance, and that your former spouse must legally uphold these visits. At Wall Legal Solutions, we can create a binding visitation schedule. Here are some tips on having great visits:
- Invite your child’s friends for sleepovers or day trips. This keeps your child from feeling isolated and helps them maintain friendships.
- Have alone time with your child. Don’t let time with significant others take away from the time you get with your child, unless you’re married.
- Plan activities according to your child’s interests and hobbies.
Be Respectful of Your Child’s Boundaries
Your child has boundaries, and you need to respect them without letting your own feelings get in the way. There are going to be days when your child doesn’t communicate with you as much as you’d like. There are going to be days when you message them and don’t hear back. This is perfectly okay. However, you also shouldn’t adopt a mindset that your child should initiate contact. As a parent, you’re the initiator. Also, if you know your child is busy at a family event or hanging out with friends, respect that and don’t contact them until they get home.
Help Your Child Feel Connected to the Other Parent
When your child comes to stay at your home, it’s important that you help him or her maintain their connection with the other parent. Call the parent and let your child speak to them, and encourage messaging. You should also keep photos of the parent around so your child can look at them, and keep a special place in your child’s room that displays cards and mementos from the parent. You must also keep in mind one simple, important rule: never say anything negative about the other parent.
Long-distance parenting is difficult, but it gets easier with the right information and help. Contact Wall Legal Solutions or call 801-803-6988 for more information and help on the legality of your long-distance parenting plan.