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Question
Posted by: Rob | 2007/05/16

How to be a long distance Dad?

I'm a divorced father of 1. My ex and daughter (the 12 weeks old) moved to the Cape soon after we seperated. Since then, they have lived in the Cape.
My daughter is now 3 and she is wonderful, I am trying to maintain a relationship with her, by calling regulary, going down to visit for long weekends at least every 3 months when time and money allow.
But since February, my daughter does not seem to be the same with me, before then when I visited or brought her (with her Mom) up to Joburg to visit me, she was very Daddy focused, only I could do things, now, she does not even want to talk to me on the phone, always busy doing something.
I do not blame her, but how do I maintain a long distance relationship with her when I see her maybe 6 times a year and can only communicate regulary via phone? I do not want to become a stranger to her, but I fear this is happening.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Part of what is probably happening is likely to be part of her own growth and development, affecting you but not necesarily about you

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Jane | 2007/05/16

Hi Rob

All I can add is, don't give up on the calls and visits. Toddlers are funny little creatures, speaking from experience, they change their favorites all the time and they are extreme busybodies, physically and mentally. The secret is, as difficult as it seems, don't take it personally, they all go through this!

Reply to Jane
Posted by: Echelle | 2007/05/16

Then get yourself a Barney suit and just cut out the face so she'll see yours :-) LOL!

Reply to Echelle
Posted by: Rox | 2007/05/16

I think it's great that you are putting in so much effort to keep in touch with your daughter. Whatever you do don't give up contacting her. My dad lives far from me and my parents divorced when I was 3 and all I got was a yearly visit and 2 telephone calls... it has damaged any possibility of a relationship that we ever could have had and affected me emotionally over the years.. I have now given up. Don't let your daughter be me...
Good luck.

Reply to Rox
Posted by: Rob | 2007/05/16

Thanks all :-)
My ex has sole custody, so basically she does not need my permission for anything.
I take a lot of pictures of her, and I assume that the ex shows her the pictures I have sent of me, her cousins and grand parents. What is sad is that I have right to have her with me full time for 1 week every quarter, so I recently went down to the cape and took a weeks leave but at 3, she wants her mom and not this guy called Daddy, so we relent our visitiation and take her home each evening to collect the next day.
Oh I dont blame her, she is a toddler, Barney is more interesting than me :-) Other than keep plugging away at the phone calls, pictures and periodic visits all I can hope is in time, a proper more stable relationship and bond can be built.

Reply to Rob
Posted by: Echelle | 2007/05/16

Send a large photo of you to her and ask your ex wife to put it up on her wall and show her every night and say daddy when pointing to your picture. Also take a picture of you and her together. Remember that at that stage they are really busy bodies and doesn't mean to hurt your feelings, she's just not interested in the phone while she can actually play with her favourite doll. Can't you take her 4 times a year and take leave for about a week at a time and weekends inbetween?

Reply to Echelle
Posted by: Echelle | 2007/05/16

Send a large photo of you to her and ask your ex wife to put it up on her wall and show her every night and say daddy when pointing to your picture. Also take a picture of you and her together. Remember that at that stage they are really busy bodies and doesn't mean to hurt your feelings, she's just not interested in the phone while she can actually play with her favourite doll. Can't you take her 4 times a year and take leave for about a week at a time and weekends inbetween?

Reply to Echelle
Posted by: Shae | 2007/05/16

it breaks my heart when i hear thing like this. This little girl should definitely not have been robbed of her dad like this and her mom should have discussed this with you before acting so selfishly and made arrangements that would be in the childs best interest. I always say when people have kids, they give up the right to be selfish.

I dont have much advise for you but i do empathise with you and hope that this situation improves.

Im not familiar with the laws around this but isnt your ex legally required to consult with you before doing something this drastic?

Your daughter is probably confused about why she doesnt see her daddy anymore and perhaps is dealing with the feeling of abandonement as best a three year old could. Poor girl, she should not have to deal with something like this.

Reply to Shae

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