Long-distance parenting after a divorce can present some challenges for parents in Oregon. However, parents can focus on quality of time together over quantity and still maintain a bond with their children. There are many things they can do to bolster a sense of connection even though they are far away.
Regular postcards, text messages, emails or messages on social media let children know that their parents are thinking about all the time. Parents should ask questions that let their children know they are engaged with their lives, such as how a specific event went. Parents can also call their children outside of the scheduled hours. Children may have their own ideas about how they prefer to stay in touch, and parents should talk to them about what those ideas are.
Parents should also try to learn about and get involved with their children’s interests as well as their friends. Getting to know the parents of their friends can help if the children want to bring friends along for a visit or a vacation. Parents should try to arrange visits in which the focus is on the child, and if parents are dating, they should wait until the relationship is serious to introduce the child to the new partner. Even if the relationship is serious, there should still be plenty of one-on-one time between parent and child.
As part of the divorce process, parents can create a parenting plan that addresses any concerns they have about the child’s upbringing, such as agreeing on when a child will meet a new partner. While it is best not to try to micromanage one another’s parenting through this document, establishing broad expectations for rules and behavior can be helpful. Parents may be able to negotiate their plan for custody and visitation with their attorneys instead of going to court.