So far yet so near
Ways to cope with distance parenting.
DISTANCE parenting is usually the last option for parents when they can’t find a babysitter or someone nearby to help take care of their child while they go to work.
This is when they feel they have no other option but to send their child to live with family members in another town or even a babysitter whom they trust but who lives far away.
In such situations, the parents would see their kids on weekends or only on a monthly basis.
Family life educator and The Star columnist Charis Patrick says that in such cases, parents need to be intentional in their parenting.
This basically means making an effort to communicate with the child regularly. The communication needs to be at a fixed time at regular intervals, say, phone calls every evening. It has to be persistent and consistent in order to build an intimate relationship with the child.
“Because you are separated by distance, you cannot leave things to chance. You need to be even more intentional so that it will bring about consistency and predictability. Once we have this in place, it’s almost an anchor or a foundation in the relationship,” Patrick says, adding that hence, both the parent and child know that communication becomes a priority.
“At the end of the day, whether there is distance between you and your child or not, you are building a parent-child relationship which has to be strong and, hopefully, deep, which means intimate,” she notes.
By intimate, she means a relationship where the parent and child know each other well and accept each other for who and what they are.
Although parents will not be able to touch and hug their child during these regular connection times, they can still focus on talking and even seeing them (if they make a video call).
Parenthots gets tips for parents who are separated by distance from their children – how to build the relationship, what to talk about, how to deal with guilt and anguish, and when to take the kids back.
One mum writes about her baby who can sleep peacefully through thunderstorms and fireworks but is easily startled by the passing of gas!
If you have a fertility, pregnancy or parenting story to share, send it to parenthots@ thestar.com.my. It might be a funny story, tips or a new discovery.
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Amazing Minds is an academic parenting tome that is rooted in empirical research. Not for everyone.
Jack Gets A Clue is a cute detective series for kids aged seven and above. It’s what they can pick up and read as opposed to Geronimo Stilton and before they get into the thicker mystery books for kids. Recommended.
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