There are a lot of parents out there that aren’t as close to their kids as they’d like to be or should be. Many parents have been away from their children for extended periods of time and this has caused their relationships with them to languish; it’s easy to happen if you are separated by one or more states. Being a parent is more than just having a hand in their creation and giving them birthday and Christmas presents. You might be reading this and wondering why I’m stating to obvious. For some however, this is a real problem. Being estranged from your child can weigh heavily on your heart and mind. Any relationship is like building a house; it doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not just the furniture that makes it a house either.
Speaking from experience, it’s disheartening to have a parent not try to contact you while you’re growing up. Some people go their entire lives without knowing one of their parents. From the perspective of the child, they begin to draw their own conclusions. It’s not uncommon for young children experiencing this to think that their mother or father is upset with them so they don’t talk to them or see them or that they didn’t want them. Imaginations tend to run away with themselves. On the other end however it’s common for the estranged parent to say to themselves, “They’ll contact me in their own time”. This is the wrong thing to do. Waiting for something to happen doesn’t get anything done and in a situation like this it can makes things worse. Being proactive is the only thing that can save or improve your relationship with your kids.
Here are some tips to getting closer with your kids:
- Talk to them. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it can make to just communicate with your kids. Even if you’re a few states away from them. A regular phone call a couple times a week is better than nothing. Talk about their day, school, address issues in their home life that concern you like the other parent’s new partner etc.
- Take the place of the other. This is something that takes some practice. Try and put yourself in their shoes. We were all kids once, try and remember what you wanted when you were their age. This will help you relate to them.
- Face to face time. If you and your ex have a court order defining your visitation or custody rights, and it’s not enough or is causing your relationship to go South, then maybe it’s time to modify that court order. Communication can go a long way but nothing beats a face to face. Try Skyping with them! Technology has had great improvements to forms of communication in our time right now.
Obviously there are a lot of different factors that can affect this that haven’t been addressed here such as how far away you really are from your child, what your relationship is like with your ex, how stable you are as a parent (good job, place to live, running vehicle etc). This last one can be a roadblock for a lot of parents out there. Many of the parents I speak to say that their ex isn’t allowing them to see their child even though they want to be an involved parent. Building, fixing and maintaining relationships with your kids or your ex or even your friends takes time and work but it’s worth it in the end.