Long distance parenting
Many families have to deal with long-distance living arrangements after a divorce or separation. Long-distances can put a strain on your communication, but families can keep their child’s relationship consistent with both parents through regular contact.
Often times in divorce or separated parenting relationships, it becomes necessary for one parent to move. The move may be caused by a change of employment, a new marriage or relationship, or to get closer to family members for a greater support system. Long distance parenting can put a lot of stress on the children if not managed correctly.
Communication is essential to making this new parenting relationship work. Using a tool like the OurFamilyWizard® website can help to alleviate many of the issues and frustrations that may arise as a result of long-distance parenting relationships. The OurFamilyWizard® website will aid families in keeping all of their records easily accessible and secure. Making both parents feel involved is not only important to the parents, but also the kids.
One of the most important things to children in a long distance parenting relationship is consistent and regular contact. The OurFamilyWizard® website can make this much easier for both parents and children. By having the entire family working from a shared set of information and calendars online, the long distance gap can become much shorter. The website provides the parent who is living a long distance away to have the ability to give regular input and feedback on activities and other information related to the child.
"... the physical separation hurts. Many miles means no way to hug, to brush back a forelock of hair, to drop in on football practice, or to watch a first book report being written. The parent separated from the child feels this pain and so does the child" -- reports Dr. Isolina Ricci in her bestseller, Mom's House Dad's (206).
The OurFamilyWizard® website is also a great documentation tool for long distance parents. The site automatically records who made the entry, when the entry was made and from what IP address the entry was made from. This documentation will provide the long distance parent with the ability to clearly show when they are being left in the dark because information is either on the site or not.
Don't take our word for it, here is what one satisfied subscriber had to say:
"This program has helped tremendously w/ finding out what's going on in my daughters' lives. My ex & I have very little to no communication to avoid past problems and esp. arguments. We have a wonderful parenting time consultant who is able to check on the communication & be the voice of reason when needed just by reading our msgs. The calendar is great. I add things as I find them out. Unfortunately, I am not the custodial parent nor is my ex interested in joint physical custody. I just have to rely on this program for daily info. which is very helpful. My daughters think it's great when I ask how something went even though I wasn't there or couldn't remind them that they were doing something that day! It shows I'm interested even if I'm not there on a daily basis. I have the right to be involved, and this program has helped in making that happen." - from Matt on 6/5/2006
Here are some tips and considerations to make when long distance parenting:
• Remain involved; know who your child’s teachers, coaches, and friends are.
• Regularly schedule phone calls or webcam chats. Don’t miss or constantly reschedule them.
• Don’t use your child to spy on the other parent.
• NEVER badmouth the other parent.
• Keep positive in your interactions with your child.
• Playing online games together.
• Share in a TV program or sports team.
• Send E-Cards or send physical cards in the mail.
Even more effective in long distance parenting when used in conjunction with web chats
The OurFamilyWizard® website can be even more effective in a long distance parenting relationship if used in conjunction with other online services. You can use the OurFamilyWizard® website to plan and schedule times for a chat or video chat (videoconferencing) session. We wrote about one free video chat service called TokBox in our blog a while back. There are many services to consider, some are free and some cost money, it all depends on what features you are looking for. Wikipedia has a rather full and complete list of service providers, hardware and more, click here to see the list of video telecommunication services and product brands.
NOTE: Many state and federal laws use terms like ‘custody’ when referring to arrangements regarding parenting time and decision-making for a child. While this has been the case for many years, these are not the only terms currently used to refer to these topics.
Today, many family law practitioners and even laws within certain states use terms such as ‘parenting arrangements’ or ‘parenting responsibility,’ among others, when referring to matters surrounding legal and physical child custody. You will find these terms as well as custody used on the OurFamilyWizard website.