Long-distance dad wants to be close to children
BY AMY DICKINSON
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 2:29 AM
Dear Amy: I'm a divorced dad in my late 30s and have two beautiful daughters, ages 5 and 7.
I've been divorced for four years. Two years ago, my ex-wife decided to relocate out of state.
After a legal battle that took a serious financial and emotional toll on me, my family and especially my young daughters, I decided that I could no longer continue the battle, and so I allowed my ex-wife to relocate.
I'm torn about the decision, but in my heart I know I did the right thing for my daughters. Now they live 1,000 miles away, and I get to see them on Skype, talk on the phone, and they travel back home every school break and every summer. I also fly to visit them when time and money allow it.
Any advice on how I can be the best "long-distance dad" I can be? - Distant Dad
Dear Dad: I applaud your intentions and determination. The biggest single impact you can have on your daughters at this stage is to maintain a positive relationship with their mother. She controls access to them in very basic ways.
I can only hope she will actively promote access - because this is best for everyone - especially the girls.
Skype is great for maintaining face-to-face contact. In addition to spontaneous calls, setting up a scheduled call each week would give the kids something to look forward to. Additionally I suggest creating a photo book for each girl containing pictures of you going about your daily routine - and lots of photos of them. Kids love to leaf through photos and read warm and funny captions.
Send them postcards. This is easy and quick. Getting mail is fun for kids, and it's a great way to connect.
During your visits with them, do your best to establish a routine. Include their friends as much as possible. Don't express too much sadness about your separation - this is the reality of all of your lives, and staying positive will help them (and you) to cope.
Dear Amy: "Heartbroken" had a long-term live-in partner who was having a baby with another woman. And she wondered what to do?
She should absolutely give him the boot. His actions are unconscionable. The writer should set higher standards for her relationships and never tolerate being treated like a doormat. The relationship is dead, whether she is willing to see it or not. - Christy
Dear Christy: I agree. She should celebrate Valentine's Day by loving herself more.
Send questions via email to Amy Dickinson at email@example.com or by mail to Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611.