As you move through the divorce process as a parent, you may wonder how your post-divorce life will impact the relationship you have with your child. Divorced parents who live in the same city may find it challenging to learn how to co-parent and foster independent relationships with the child. However, if you relocate to another city or state for a new job or to help an aging parent, you may feel anxious about how you can continue to nurture your relationship with your child from far away. Let’s take a look at three simple tips for helping you feel more connected to your child, even if you move away from the Portland area.
1. Schedule Regular Check-in Times After the Divorce is Finalized
One of the most important steps you can take after the divorce is to make regular communication with your child a top priority. While you and your child should certainly reach out to each other at any time, it’s important to schedule a regular day and time when you can connect with your child in a meaningful way. For instance, make it a habit to call or Facetime on Sunday evenings to catch up with one another. Even if these conversations are not lengthy, simply hearing each other’s voices and seeing each other’s faces—even virtually—will help you stay present in each other’s lives. Of course, texting and emailing each other are good ways to keep in contact as well, but words on a screen are not as meaningful as hearing voices and seeing faces. Make sure you give yourselves plenty of opportunities to connect.
2. Welcome Your Child Into Your Post-Divorce Life
Since your child will be spending the majority of their time with their primary custodial parent in the Portland area, it’s easy for them to feel left out of your life once you’ve moved away. One study found that most parents have a child living within one hour’s drive, but parents lived over four hours away. As the COVID-19 pandemic has made travel more complicated, it might not be feasible to invite your child to spend a weekend with you right now. In the meantime, think of ways to introduce your child to your new environment. Share photos, give your child a virtual tour of your home and neighborhood or send a “care package” of items from local stores that you frequent. Once travel becomes more plausible, invite your child to spend time with you in your new location so that they can feel more integrated into your post-divorce life. It’s also a great idea to plan a visit to the Portland area to spend time with your child in their hometown; or, if this is not possible, make sure that you accept their invitation to virtually attend their piano recital or talent show.
3. Be Patient With Yourself as You Adjust to Your New Life
It’s completely natural for the parent who moves farther away to experience feelings of guilt over “abandoning” their child. Remember, guilt is not a productive emotion, and you need to give yourself the necessary space to adjust to your post-divorce life. The more time you take to build a secure and comfortable life for yourself, the more you’ll be able to be a supportive presence in your child’s life. Rather than berate yourself for moving away, focus on the quality of the time you are able to spend with your child, recognizing that you made this move because you needed to build a more stable life for yourself—as an individual and as a parent. As your child grows up, they will not remember the amount of time you spent with them, but they will remember how much you made yourself emotionally available (even via text or phone) and how loved you made them feel.
For more information about divorce or family law matters in the Portland area, contact the dedicated and compassionate legal team at Lee Tyler Family Law, P.C. today by calling (503) 233-8868.