According to Dr. Isolina Ricci, author of the book Mom’s House, Dad’s House, “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." It’s a fact, there’s no substitute for physical presence.
How can long distance parents bridge the gap with their kids? And what is a parent to do when being an OFW is the only way to provide for the family? Using technology usually gets a parent connected with her child using just voice or text. Given the very sparse channels that are open, a parent can really focus on the few things that will make a difference.
Dr. Ricci suggests that long distance parents use words of affirmation when talking to their kids:
-Tell them that you love them and that you will always take care of them no matter what.
-Use all means (via phone, via text, via email, via Skype) to allay any fear that they could lose you.
-Help them cope. Find ways to gently coach your children and help them learn to fend for themselves.
-Make them feel safeAlways make them feel safe and reassured about the future.
Protect them from stress
-Try to reduce the stress that they are feeling.
-No need to pass on your fears to your kids.
Protect them from fights
-Keep our arguments and frustrations with your spouse between the two of you.
-Don’t let the kids get into the middle of it.
Keep order and structure
-Just because you aren’t there physically, the rules still apply firmly
-Enforce their daily routines (meals should be eaten together, traditions are kept)
When you are left with just a few options, use whatever communication channel you have to communicate your words of affirmation to your children. They are hurting and one of the things you can do to bridge the gap is to reassure them of your love, no matter the circumstances.