This room is for supportive and informative discussion about divorce and/or the annulment process. All posters must have been previously divorced or annulled.
Saint Eugene De Mazenod is patron of dysfunctional families & Saint Fabiola obtained a divorce from her first husband prior to devoting her life to charitable works.
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Hi everyone, I have been asked for advice on how to be a long-distance parent by Michael 780154, age 40, of Riverview, Fla. He said that he works a rotating shift, his ex-wife is moving even farther away with their children. My impression is that his job isn't portable.
I decided to open up this question to you, the experts of Catholic Match, about how to parent long distance.
I would suggest telephone dates or Skype dates at a regular time every week, if your schedule allows it. Follow your child's hobbies, interests, or romances. It's a good idea to show interest in your child's school grades, but be careful not to be overbearing in that area. Kids usually do the best they can.
Also, my youngest child was accepted into the Junior Statesman program, after writing an essay that I helped him with by editing it. He attended a 5-week JS course at Princeton University when he was 15 (East Coast), then one at Stanford (West Coast) the next year. The summer school courses also alowed him to earn college credit through the Advanced Placement tests. So he learned early that being smart could get him far in life if he applied himself.
Now were you long-distance separated from your children? Sounds like he did well. My problem is inability to do much more than Skype with my two youngsters (8 and 5, out of state.) As a matter of fact, I can't get straight answers from their school regarding what they're learning. Haven't seen a report card all year. And their mother won't even help me obtain school pictures. I do my best, but current circumstances prevent me from seeing them and no, my job is not portable. No idea what to do, as it seems as though I'm unable to make inroads with the school or with their mother.
Michael, Some of the answers to your questions are legal. I'm not an attorney; you will need to check your divorce decree then possibly consult w/an attny. If you moved out of state, that may have an effect, since divorce laws vary by state. For instance, you should be able to request of the school any records if you have shared custody (not placement, custody. Those are 2 different things.) That would mean report cards.
For an ex-spouse to not share school pictures is just plain wrong and mean spirited. Children do not benefit from those sorts of behaviors. Clinical studies show that children who are functioning most highly after a divorce have parents who can work together for the kids' well-being.
I have 3 children. My eldest lived w/her dad from age 12 to 18 (high school graduation), separately from her sister and brother. There were some stresses but overall, we all have made it work.
I don't know how routinely you contact your children but I would suggest keeping a regular schedule to skype and/or telephone. They will anticipate those specific days/times and the commitment will reassured them of how important they are in your life. Of course, impromptu phone calls or skype time is a bonus.
Kids love to get mail... don't we all! Send them funny cards with a few personal lines and ask a couple of questions that they can answer back to you. You might want to include a self addressed stamped card to make it easier for them. They're young so put stickers of things they like on the envelopes.
Unfortunately, getting information from the school may be difficult depending on the states involved and your custody or shared custody situation. You might consider asking your attorney to send a letter to the school to request they e-mail you the report cards. Many schools have web access for assignments and progress reports but I'm not sure if this is used in elementary grades.
God Bless, Pam
I keep contact with my ex to the very minimum. The school sends copies of their report cards to their father (only the 2 youngest children -- he is not interested in the others). School picturesare often online and you can buy them yourself -- call the school, let them know the situation, ask for whatever info is needed -- their mother is probably paying for the pictures herself and is under no obligation to provide you with them. You need to be the one making theeffort to be in your children's lives. You need to call, skype, write, travel, think about and be interested in your children's every day lives. No effort should be 'their job' because they are fragile, innocent, powerless children. You must make the monumental effort or you will be left out in the cold. It'sdifficult, but the truth.
No effort should be 'their job' because they are fragile, innocent, powerless children. You must make the monumental effort or you will be left out in the cold. It'sdifficult, but the truth.
Rachel you make a very good point. I asked my ex once about his young teenage daughter from his earlier marriage and he said he hadn't called her because she didn't call him. My only response was 'who's the adult in this relationship'.
I am pleased to say that I have a wonderful relationship with this step-daughter and will be traveling to Florida soon to visit her, and her husband and 2 year old daughter. Due to his lack of interest in his daughter, my ex didn't even know he was a grandfather until his granddaughter was about 18 months old. On the other hand, I was invited to the baby shower and my step-daughter called me from the hospital right after her daughter was born. I am kown as GrandPam to this beautiful little girl!
Pam, you are proof that "family" is made sometimes, formed in loved and with time and attention, not necessarily always biological.
Something that my son (4yo) does with my parents that live out of state in addition to skype they read stories together. I found cheap books and bought 2. One to send to my parents the other to keep at home. My dad can now read with my son. They can talk about what is on the page because they are looking at the same book. I've also xeroxed and scanned books to send to my dad to read. It's awesome. You could buy your older daughter a book and even if you don't read it out loud together, you could read it at the same time and talk about it like a book club.
Like someone else said, you have some legal issues here. If you have joint legal custody, you have the right to get information from the school. You should call and explain this to the school and fax/e-mail a copy of your decree so that they have it on file. In my experience, the schools are good at working with the parents of divorced children and want to help. Get to know the teacher. They should do conferences twice a year if not more. Ask if you can do yours by phone. Ask if you can check in with her via e-mail once a week or so. This will let you know when school pictures are taken and who the photographer is so that you can order yours. You will know about events at school so you can ask your kids about them.
Parenting long distance is more work, but it should slowly become easier as they get older and as things get more routine. Depending on the circumstances around your ex's move, if she is moving further away from you where visits go from hard to impossible, she may need a court order to do that. Most courts favor frequent and continuing contact with both parents.