A mom’s job is unpredictable, and sometimes, you are forced to parent from afar if your kid is outside the country. The following are five parenting lessons for a mom in your situation.
1. Communicate Purposefully
Communication becomes much more important in this situation. It’s easy to forget carving out some time to communicate with your beloved child, but you have to. Create that expectation so that your kid does the same for you. When you are apart, predictable patterns of communication helps you feel close and establish a new sense of normalcy.
You have a lot of ways to communicate with each other, like through the phone, video calls, or through regular texts. On top of that, you also try to make it a point to send each other physical gifts. There’s something special about receiving something in the mail from your kid, and your kid’s going to love getting stuff from you.
2. Be Open-Minded
One thing you might not see coming is your kid’s mindset changing. Travel does that to a person because you get exposed to all sorts of perspectives and cultures. A lot of parents overlook how attached they are to some things they’ve grown up with and get a strong reminder when their kid says something that challenges their worldview.
You are going to have to set that aside. Allow your kid to grow and to become the person he or she was meant to be. Allow yourself to see what your child is seeing. If you don’t quite understand it, then go ahead and ask because it doesn’t hurt to learn from your kid.
3. Take an Interest
As a parent, you should take an active interest in the things your kid is doing abroad. If your child tells you about something peculiar or something he or she finds interesting, be sure to follow up. Do some research and find out more about it. Figure out what was interesting about what your kid mentioned.
If you show your kid you appreciate the conversations you two have, then your child will appreciate it. This might feel like homework, but this is an important step. You don’t want to feel disconnected simply because you can’t keep up with him or her. You do not need to become an expert, just have some working knowledge.
4. Learn to Trust
Your son or daughter is not going to be with you, and you won’t hear from your child some time. When you have to parent from afar, this raises a lot of red flags, and you’re probably going to feel a little uneasy. This feeling gets quite powerful, especially if your kid misses a call, text, or video call with you.
Don’t give in to that feeling. Do your best to trust that your kid is making the right decisions. Try not to interrogate your child, and trust that you raised a kid who is going to do right by you and by him or herself. Your kid is going to explain things if he or she needs to, if not, just relax and be present in the moment.
5. Special Welcome
Your kid is going to return at some point, and you have to make sure the return is a special one. Maybe your kid is in college but gets time off, or maybe your kid is in the marines and he or she has been given a chance to go back home. You need to put your feelings aside as a college mom or a marine mom, and make sure your kid’s return is special.
Ask your kid what kind of visit he or she wants, and try to give that to your child. As a mother, especially one that hasn’t seen her kid in a long time, it is hard to let your kid take the wheel, but you have to. There’s a lot that your child wants to do, but you are definitely in his or her plans, so don’t pressure your child too much.
These are some important lessons moms need to keep in mind when they have to parent from afar. This might be a little strange, but your kid’s life has taken him or her to new worlds, all thanks to you.
Article by Becca J. Meyers