Coping With Absence: Managing Stress And Emotions As A Long-Distance Father
We have heard of long-distance relationships and are aware of the challenges a couple faces when they live away from each other. Now, imagine having to raise your children in a long-distance relationship.
Living away from home/partner is not easy but living away from your children is way more difficult. In some cases, the father, for any reason, choosing to live away from home can be hard on the child as well as the father.
I have seen a long-distance father and trust me, guilt of being away from their children really takes a toll on their mental health. There are a lot of negative thoughts that run in their minds, ruining their peace even more.
However, some fathers choose to live away from their children simply abandoning them because they can’t deal with the responsibility. We are not talking about those fathers today! We will be discussing the plight of fathers who deeply love their family but have to live far for reasons that can’t be avoided.
How Does Long Distance Fatherhood Affect Men?
We often talk about motherhood and how a mother feels about her children but we hardly talk about fatherhood. Fathers are equally involved in their child’s life as are the mothers. Fathers feel similar emotions but because of their lack of expression, are often misunderstood.
When a father has to live away from his children, they experience a lot of negative emotions. They are filled with guilt for not being there for their children. Men expressing their emotions and feelings is still a rare sight, therefore, they often struggle to process their emotions because they never exit their system.
Here are a few other ways long-distance fatherhood can affect men;
- The guilt of not being present for their children and partner
- Fear of losing a connection with their children
- Feeling like they don’t hold any strong position in their child’s life
- The fear of missing out on their children’s milestones
- The fear of having their children forget them
- The fear of not knowing their children well enough
- The stress of children not sharing a strong bond with them
Managing The Stress Of Long-Distance Father
When a father lives away from their children, it is mostly misunderstood as abandonment, which is not the case most of the time. Men find it difficult to express their emotions maybe because of the stereotype they are expected to fit in.
It is very important to work on the father-child relationship especially when you’re a long-distance father. Now, it is easier said than done, but no one said it’s impossible. To reduce the stress of being a long-distance father and build a beautiful bond with your children, here are a few things you can do;
1. Make your child feel your presence, every day:
Now being a long-distance father, I’m sure it is not possible for you to come home every day physically but you can be home virtually. Spend time with your children on video calls every day, in fact, make it a routine. Never, miss their special days.
2. If you promise them something, keep it:
Never break promises it will break their heart. Therefore, it is very important that you make promises mindfully and always do what you promised them or else do not make a promise in the first place.
3. Try to get to know your children:
Simply chatting with them every day will not help. You need to understand them, learn about their likes and dislikes, talk to them about their problems, and make them feel loved and wanted.
4. Do not bribe or manipulate them:
Now you might feel bad about not being there for them but that doesn’t mean you buy them unnecessary gifts or bribe them so that they like you. You need to be the father they need.
5. Be out there as their father:
There are so many places a father is required, for example, at school, on play dates, etc. Now, you can’t do it when you’re away, therefore, whenever you visit them, go to all the places with them where you are needed and introduce yourself as a proud father.
6. Set boundaries:
Children are very smart, as soon as they understand that you try to overcompensate for your absence, they might use it against you. It’s very innocent and typical of children to do that. However, when you set boundaries with them, they learn respect and humility.
That’s All Folks!
I hope you found this blog about long-distance fatherhood helpful, interesting, and thought-provoking. Do share this blog with your friends and family and especially dads who are living away from their family.
Thanks for reading.
Take care and stay safe.