Preparing Your Child for a Cross Country Visit With Your coParent
When I think about sending my children on a cross-country trip to visit their dad, I feel panic. I get a feeling that I am losing control, losing my children to a faraway place where I have no say in what happens in their daily lives. I know that may seem a bit dramatic, but I am worried. A million thoughts are running through my head.
How can I make sure that nothing happens to my children when they are away from me?
Will their dad be able to do all the things that I do for them?
Will he make sure they brush their teeth every night?
Will he read books to them before bed?
Will they like living with him so much that they don’t want to come home?
Will my children truly miss me?
I know I’m going overboard by wondering all these things but it’s my parental instinct to want to ensure they are taken care of 24/7. I am the type of mom who needs to say “I Love You!” every time my children go somewhere.
I constantly tell myself, “Snap out of it!” The trip they are taking isn’t about me. It’s about them. They need to spend time with their dad. They need to be a part of his life, and he wants to be a part of theirs. They need to understand who he is, what he does, and how he lives. Simply put, they need to have a good relationship with their father.
Because of that, I created a long distance parenting plan for my children. It’s a plan that will help them make the best of the time they spend with their dad. Every time they plan to take the trip across the country, I start to go through my list:
- Call my ex to discuss the details of the trip, and to get his permission to talk to the children about it.
- Tell the kids about the adventure they will be going on, where they are going, what their dad is going to do with them and how much fun I hope they are going to have.
- Get emergency phone numbers and the address where they will be staying while on vacation.
- Collaborate with my ex to make a coParenting strategy for the kids while they are away: when daily, nightly or weekly phone calls would be made; food restrictions; approximate bedtimes; etc.
It took me awhile to stop being emotional about my children traveling across the country. When I realized that the trip was good for them and their dad, I began to feel better about it. After all, he is a coParent just like I am and he loves the children too. The long-distance parenting plan is working out well. My ex and I are now able to decide on so many things together.