Parenting and raising kids is a hard job. As a matter of fact, I think that if you did a survey of a group of parents, they would tell you that it is quite possibly the hardest job they have ever had. There seems to never be enough time in the day for after school activities, PTA meetings, plays, sports, band, friends, the list goes on and on. You then have to worry about doctor visits, dentist check ups, physical exams, and eye doctor visits among everything else going on in your child's life. Do you know how hard that would be if you had to do all that from thousands of miles away? It's called bi-coastal parenting when one parent lives on opposite sides of the country from the child and the custodial parent or guardian. Not many parents choose this route to raise their kids, but sometimes life happens and a job might take them there or family ties hold them in a different place than the rest of the family. Nevertheless, bi-coastal parenting is a very difficult one and here are a few tips on how to make it work.
- Both parents and/or guardians to the children have to make the effort to get along in order for this to work. It's not healthy for the child to see their parents arguing all the time so the both of you have to get along for the child's sake even if you don't like each other. It's not about you anymore, it's about your child.
- You have to keep the other parent/guardian informed about what is going on with the child. It is so important that the other parent know about those doctor visits, and trips to the dentist. Tell them how many cavities, if any, the child has. A lot of the times the parents share in medical coverage or medical expenses. It's your duty to share that information for the sake of the child.
- Keep in constant, regular contact with your child by phone, email, texting, and visits. More than likely your child is going to have a busy life just like you do and they are going to want to share that with you. Make time to call everyday if not every other day. If you can't get to the phone, send a quick email. You can both discuss your day and it might make you feel a little closer to your child.
- Send pictures to the non-custodial parent. Kids have school pictures done every year. With today's technology you don't even have to mail it, you can simply email it.
- Have a schedule for visitation and don't go back onyour word. If you tell the parent and child you'll have the child for the month of July, stick to it. You're only hurting your child when you don't hold up to what you said you said you were going to do and they will remember it.
- If the other parent says they will take the child for the month of July, let them. As the custodial parent, you get to see your child every single day. It's important for the health and well being of your child for he/she to get to spend that quality time with both parents.
- DO NOT talk bad about each other or the families in front of the children. Once the child becomes old enough to make those decisions of whom they would like to live with, you won't be the one if all they hear is what a bad person the other parent is. Talking bad about your child's other parent will only drive them away from you and they will resent you one day for it.
- If at all possible, try to get together as a family and do something at least once a year. A trip to the park for only a couple hours one day a year could make a world of difference to your child. It will solidify to them that both parents or guardians do get along and are trying to make a difficult situation a positive one.
- Tell your child you love them everytime you have contact with them. This might be a no-brainer, but it will mean so much your child. Never forget those words no matter what.