How do you stay close with children who do not live with you?

For parents who don't have full-time custody of their children, what are suggestions for how to maintain a close relationship with them?

20  Answers

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I'm a mother of 2 and don't have custody of my kids. I don't even have joint custody. When my ex and I separated, I didn't have a job, money, a place to live and the best thing for my kids was to stay with their dad until I got on my feet. The whole time I wasn't living with them I kept in contact and seen them. After about a year, I was on my feet and had a healthy environment to live I went to get my kids. Well my ex didn't want that, so he got a lawyer and took me to court. I was only about 20 at the time and didn't have a lawyer when I went to court. I was never given the chance to get a lawyer. At court I was told that in Indiana they don't give joint custody if you weren't married. So I got screwed. Instead of me having custody, he got them and they spent all day in daycare while he was working. At night time and on the weekends they would have a babysitter because their father would do side jobs. So it was like they didn't have either parent. It was heartbreaking. I understand he had to work to provide for them, but they could of lived with me instead of being in daycare all the time. So yeah. I also know someone else who went through some tough times and had to leave their kids with the father. Well the father got remarried and ended up being diagnosed with cancer. They hired a lawyer to let the man's new wife adopt the kids because they didn't want the biological mom to have them. The lady that was trying to adopt the kids had her own kids that she left in the state of WA and owed child support. Well they had a very good lawyer and of course the court let the lady adopt the kids. I was blown away that the court allowed someone to adopt another person's kids when they left their own kids across the country. The lady was evil and wouldn't let the kids see anyone on their biological mother's side of the family. Unfortunately the cancer took away their father's life. After that their adopted mom stop letting them see their father's side of the family. There is 3 kids involved in this mess. As soon as the oldest one turned 18, he moved out of adopted mom's house and went to live with his biological mom. A few years later the middle child turned 18. And guess where he went? To his biological mom's as well. The youngest one is only 16 and I bet as soon as she's 18 she'll move as well. Keeping kids from their parents does nothing but hurt the kid!! Unless the parent is unfit to see the child, don't ever keep them away! They will most likely end up resenting you. Sorry for my rant.

Back to the question at hand. Make sure you call those kids EVERY day. Ask them how their day was, what they did, how was school, how they're doing in school, etc. Make sure you know their favorite subject in school, their favorite color; animal, etc. Know their hobbies. When my kids aren't with me I draw them pictures, write them short stories, burn CDs with their favorite artists on it. When they come to visit, I give them those special gifts. Things like that are better than any toy. That's my opinion tho.

I hope you find ways to stay close with your children when they aren't with you.

Much ♥ and Respect
Miss Jennifer

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1. Most important, tell them you love them every time you can.
2. Make the most of the time you do have. It is not the quanity but the quality of the time that matters.
3. Always be available to them to talk and listen. THey need this and they want this most of all.
4. Respect the kids. They will respect you in return.
5. Hug them a lot.
6. Keep communication open all the time.
7. Encourage them in all that they do.
8. Never deviate from the way you have done things like discipline and values.
9. Make sure that the understand that no matter what both parents love them.
10. Make a big deal out of things they are proud of.

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Well, make sure that your time with them is appreciated and that there is NO ARGUING...also just have fun together and ALWAYS BE HONEST WITH EACH OTHER no matter what age you have between each other. BE TRUE TO ONE ANOTHER, AND BE REAL ( just be your self).....your child will appreciate you more for it...!! ALWAYS TALK TO EACH OTHER, ALWAYS TAKE PICTURES OR VIDEOS OF EACH OTHER AND ALWAYS LOVE THEM NO MATTER WHAT THEY DO TO YOU OR SAY TO YOU....remember when you were a child and you had disputes with your parents or parent and I'm sure you must of said something to hurt them and regretted it , in other words LET THEM VENT...!!
So good luck to all concerned
I'm a mother of a 17 yr old boy who doesn't live with me and I speck from experience....I have a wonderful relationship with my son ....I can honestly say that my son is trueful to me and that's what I wanted for him......GOLDEN RULE: NEVER LIE TO EACH OTHER NO MATTER WHAT THE AGE GAP IS.....!!!!

GOOD LUCK !!!


ONE MORE VERY IMPORTANT RULE......SPEND TIME OUTSIDE TOGETHER DOING SOMETHING YOU BOTH ENJOY ..... DO NOT ALLOW UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE THE COMPUTER TO RULE YOUR HOME......GO PLAY OUTSIDE.......!!!!!!


GOOD LUCK ONCE AGAIN !!!!!!!!

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This is what I am trying to figure out. I am and always will be a great father. My kids have always come 1st. Never cheated on my ex-wife but she cheated on me and ended the marrage when I was in stage 3 cancer treatment. Problem is in colorado moms seem to have all the rights. She now has her 18 yr old boy freind living with her and my boys and never lets them spend any time with me. The courts do nothing. Yes every child deserves to have 2 parents. I am so sick of [sorry] mostly women complaing about how their ex-was so terrable. I have been meeting 100s of great fathers being kept away from their kids because their ex-wivers are vendictive women. Ladies that do this to the kids for their own personal gain are terable people and un-fit to be moms. STOP HERTING THE KIDS and grow up, it's not about you. Kids are our future our now and should be 1st. I hear it all the time. Throw him in jail he's not paying child support, I always pay mine and yes it makes me angry that I will go to jail if I don't but she can do what ever she wants. My son has to go threw every day wondering wy is moms boyfriend only 3 years older than me, wow that is going to help him grow up to look at relationships in a healthy way. Sorry for ranting just looking for answers and not from people that are crazy and vendictive, just good parents that truley love their kids.

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Larry I do agree that women do have the upper hand when it comes to divorce and kids but not all of us are bad..... I am remarried and my present hubands ex wife was horrible. Two of his 3 kids didn't see him for about 5-6 years all do to her lies and bad mouthing. Once they got out of their teens they came around, figured out the lies and now are very close to their dad. Sad he missed out on all those years but there's nothing he can do but move on and look forward to the many years he still has left with them. My ex husband on the other hand wanted nothing to do with our kids after our divorce. If they didn't kiss his a** he shut them out of his life. He even has a 15 month old grandbaby he has no interest in meeting. So sad!!!!! As young adults in their 20's our kids have come to terms with not having their dad in their lives. So yes women can be bad parents but so can dads. That's really not the important thing though. What you have to do is continue to call and do whatever you can to keep good communication with your kids. Sounds like they are getting old enough to make some decisions on their own soon too. If things are strained for a few years remember when they get older they will understand better and realize what their mom is really like. Just hang in there and be the best father you can under the circumstances and for heaven sakes don't put all your garbage and built up hatred for their mother on them. The hardest thing to do is shut your mouth and not bad mouth the other parent but you have to do it. Good luck with your health and your kids.

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i bought a computer and learned how to video chat! it is just like having them there in front of you!

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My daughter has lived with her grandmother for about 8 to 9 years, Me thinking it was the right thing to do at the time. And now she is 14 years old she has a pierced lip and thinking about getting a tattoo. My daughter has no respect for me she dont even call me mom. Its really hard for me, i know its my fault for letting her stay with her grandmother. Her father doesnt work he dont help for anything we have 3 gilrs together i have 2 with me and my oldest lives with her grandma. I am thinking anout taking her to court and file for full custody for all 3. But then im afraid. What do i do?

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I have the same problem with my daughter,she is living with the father,just because she wanted to it was a big shock,but i dont have the power to stop her,im in the court her father lied alot about me,now im seeing my daugher once in a week for only 3 hrs,is sad very sad,im still fighting in the court,for me its ok that she wants to stay with the father but its not fair that i have to c her only for 3 hrs ,AFTER the big shock that i had i didint go to c her for complete 6 months,but i was calling her and sending her sms everyday,after 6 months i dicided to go for her because i calmed down a bit still hurt,but she's still my daughter,and now our relationship is getting better,we are talking,and sharing opinions,still we are not touching the argument about the court or her father,or about the lies,but atleast we are getting ok.in my opinon show always love to your childrens keep in touch evreyday,and be always intrested in what they have to say,avoids critics,avoid arguments that hurts,try to be a parent and a friend at the same time,go down their level,good luck.

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My two sons have been staying with my mom since last summer and will be coming back home this June, but I have tried to stay close to them by talking with them as if I still have control..I let them know what I still expect of them..helping them to understand I still care about the things they do. I ask them about their days and how they have excelled...If they are misbehaving for any reasons or getting negative grades..I ask them what happened and encourage them to work on whatever it is..
I am still in their lives in this way and when they get back home they will still know to expect the same .

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I am a mother of two children (daughter - 16; son - 14). As of January my husband was court ordered out of the family home and I was awarded interim custody of both my kids. Prior to this date, papers for divorce were served sept and the children's father continued to stay and torment until this period. While it was hard enough dealing with his verbal/mental abuse, my kids were exposed to this toxicity and were encouraged to join in by their father. When he finally had to leave I continued to experience an escalating relationship breakdown with both kids; 16 yr old daughter was more severe. All three of us starting attending counselling separately and then my daughter just refused to go at all, saying it was stupid. She became disinterested in childhood friends, who were good influences. Instead she gravitated towards troubled kids from broken homes as well. She started skipping classes, experimenting with smoking and doing some drugs, becoming sexual active and being as defiant as possible. I tried everything I could think of to try and get her back on track; nothing has seemed to work and as of the two months she has decided to live with her dad who has no rules but instead enables her behaviour . I presently do not have much of a relationship with her as I do not see or hear from her very often. This has no doubt affected my son; who himself has been exhibiting signs of anger and aggression towards me for this whole mess. He is very involved with his friends and sports and I believe this has helped him cope, by staying busy. My children's father refuses to text, email or talk to me regrading anything. The simplest of things all need to involve a lawyer, including why my daughter is at the hospital with a friend at 300 am on a school night! I miss my daughter so much I cry myself to sleep wondering what I could have done differently. Anytime I do see her now it is because she wants something and no other reason. I am so hurt by all of this.

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im trying to figure out how to do that myself. i am a mother of a 14 yr old son and i have a 9 year old daughter who they both live with their dads in another state. i became addicted to drugs and thought that having their dads have them fulltime was the best thing to do . i didnt want them to grow up in that kind of enviroment and see me like that. i moved away from our small town in fear of relapsing so i moved about 7 hrs away. its been 6 years and i feel horrible and i feel like a crappy mom. i miss my kids soooo much and ive missed soo much becuz i was being selfish. my 14 year old seems like he hates me but could b hormones. i get them for a month in the summer which i sooo thankful for!!! my children dont know why i left them with their dads. i dont know what a safe age is to tell them why i left .they dont kno i was addicted to drugs. i feel that maybe if i opened up to them and told them maybe the distance would b a little easier on the 3 of us. im currently in a great relationship and hes amazing he loves me thru all my flaws..he also has a 5 year old son whom lives with us and im soo afraid that my kids have jealousy issues or will resent him because im with him everyday and not my kids. im all sorts of a big bag of hot mess and emotional confusion. i could easily move back home and stay with my dsaughter and her father that door is always open and has been. i just dont know what the right thing to do.

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I Have three children who are not in my care and are being raised in thress different homes :( I make it a priority to call my oldest who;s 9, every single dy no matter what!! he's into video games and friends now, and some days its tough...but i make sure i tell him i love him and always will!! and that he can come to me for any reason....my middle daughter was adopted by her foster family and i only get to see her 2x a yr :( ver heartbreaking....i put together a backpack or pgk of things for her....pictures letters, cloting etc...she always enjoys recieving these gifts. at one visit last summer she told me she couldnt wait to grow up and buy a horse to ride to me and visit me all the time :(.....then my baby devyn is 2....iam allowed to see her 2x a week for 2hrs a time....ths is a hard situation as Iam still with he father, but its a very unhealthy relationship with no trust respect or communication unless were having agood day....he is part of the reason i do not have custody of my kids as he is a adrug dealer and very emotionally abusive....Iam trying to get out...but i have burned bridges with many friends and family....i feel soo stuck, and scared....iam alone in the relationship so i my as well b alone n happy!! I Hope all you mothers know that ur babies are precious gifts from above, and that hopefully i will get out of this soon....tell them u love them and that it wasnt ur decision but an authority or judge's decision.....tell them u will be there for them no matter what!!!

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I too am having a hard time with this. Although the suggestions on here are great they aren't applicable to me as I have a 6 year old. I try to call everyday but he really has no interest in talking on the phone. His father doesn't help by allowing him to watch TV or play video games while we are on the phone. Not only is it a struggle to get him to talk to me I feel that I am in the dark about everything since his father doesn't talk to me either. I am so frustrated. I got him a kids tablet for Christmas and uploaded Skype I'm hoping this will help...well, if his dad adds their Wi-Fi to it. Does anyone with younger kids have any ideas?

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I recently gave custody of my 2 sons 6 and to to my mom due to the fact I have mental illness borderline personality disorder, depression and anxiety after years of my children going back and forth depending on my mental stability so they could have a permanent stability in there life but how I do I keep a relationship with with them and make sure they know I love them and think about them

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When you do see that child, try to spend every moment with them, send them letters and photos and updates on how you are and ask them how they are doing in general, at school, send birthday cards, call as often as you can or send a message saying you are thinking of them. Ensure that when they are visiting you , that they know how much you love them and miss them, validate who they are as children and as people and as what role they play in your life (which should be an important one) and show an interest in their school and hobbies and support them with that.

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My sons father doesn't live in the same state as us. He hasn't seen him in years. But I make sure that my son knows, loves and respects his father. ( My son is 3). So what I do is send him pictures via email often, calls often, we have tango video calls on our cells (and ipod) and theres skype, yahoo video chat, etc.

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FB & Skype videocalls help me get close to my son, who's 18yrs old. we get to see each other & talk like we're just together... worship together online is good too...

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If you and they have a computer, get SKYPE so you can see each other and talk to each other. Maybe you could get a good night call going or depending on their ages, tell them a story. Send them little things that are not expensive, like from the dollar store, like a bookmark with something they are interested in, or other personal interests.

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Besides spending quality time with them when you do have them call them. Just because you can't be in the same home as them doesn't mean you can't talk to them. Maybe before they go to bed you can call and ask how their day was. Make sure the conversations stay about them. With all the computer tech. these days you could ask the person who has full custody if you could skype with them during the week. It's a free service and all you need is a camera for your computer if it isn't built in. They are inexpensive too. Kids just want to know that their parents love them and won't forget about them. Equally important is always keep your promises. If you are supposed to have the kids or call or skype do it......... Nothing can ruin a relationship faster than broken promises.

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Been trying to do this but she looks at caller ID and hangs up and so does her 18 yr old boy toy. As for my sons I think his keeping such a distance is his way of dealing with me being sick [cancer] . So I just keep praying and keep calling even if I get no answer. I just worrie that someday when I am gone he will feel guilty and I don't want that, so I made a DVD to tel him that when I do die I never blamed him and will always be with him. Any suggestion would be great.

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I do this with grandchildren just like my Gramdma did with me, she was the great maker of wonderful memories, I have so many memories of her and I doing such fun things together, I will miss he till the day I die. Those fun times did bind us and along with the comforting cuddles.

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I make Fridays a special day to where I go and eat lunch with my 5 yr old at his school. This gives us the opportunity to spend time together without the other siblings around. Just be creative and enjoy.

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That is so cool. I did that with the kids, it was a Derek day or an Austin day, jst made them feel special. Kids are the most precious gift we get in life and they should feel that they are special. Still do not see my kids but will never ever give up on them.

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