Long Distance Parenting
July 20, 2010 4:47am CST
Nowadays, when you live in a country whose employment opportunity is scarce, you are often times left with no choice but to that overseas. You are then forced to leave your kids under the custody of a family member or someone you can trust. However, can we guarantee that our children's formative years are closely monitored? Question is, can still ensure that we are parenting our children effectively even if we are far from them?
20 Jul 10
I think this must be the hardest of decisions. Where I live there are a lot of families that are materially well-off (private schooling, health, nice cars and homes etc), BUT are single parent families more than 50% of the time. The father is working in the UK in finance, or in the Middle East in oil, or whatever. I don't think it's good for any family to live like this, other than for a finite time to achieve a specific goal... another family I know, the husband is in the military... he missed the birth of his youngest daughter, didn't see her till 8 weeks old, and has been away ever since and she's nearly walking now. His wife is preparing excitedly for his next visit this month, but it is like a visit, not as a parent - he will fly in with gifts and disrupt their lives, it wont be 'real' life for them for a few weeks - then off again. I would not regard that as acceptable in a marriage, and in a parter one can make a choice. With a parent you get what you are given, and the kids I see genuinely suffer emotionally, despite wonderful mothers devoting their lives to their happiness.
20 Jul 10
This is so sad, but in our country as well, this is reality- a reality that bites. We would understand that parents do have a clean intentions for leaving but we can't really blame the children because they are so young to understand all these things. What they wanted are parents who are always there for them.
22 Jul 10
I think all kids need consistency and boundaries to make them feel safe. I know a number of single parents, men and women, who do an awesome job of bringing up children who feel totally secure and loved - and it's a dreadful thing to say but I think many of those kids have better emotional stability than others I see, who have one consistent parent and another parachuting in and out of their lives at intervals. It is exactly as you said, kids do not understand - how can they possibly do so - this guy called Dad pitches up every few months with gifts and treats and all the routine is out of the window (some Mums I know even take their kids out of school for a few days if their husband's visits are that rare and brief). After that everything is expected to just 'go back to normal' somehow and the kid suddenly has bedtimes and homework and just one parent again. Who wonders why they are dealing with challenging behavioural problems and difficult attitudes... My husband and I have sacraficed a lot of material things, to work together at home in a place we love and that our children have a happy lifestyle. We drive an ancient car, dont have our own place, don't go on holidays other than to visit family overseas... but we are both THERE for them, every day and night, and they know that whatever life brings us we will deal with it as a family, and nothing truly important will ever change.