This is a guest post submitted by someone like you! Want to share your own thoughts or words of encouragement?
You can submit your own guest post here.
Holly Easterby is an idealist who dreams that all kids will grow up as individuals who love their parents and the community. To help parents make better decisions, she shares tips at Bonza Brats and in websites such as this one. In this article, she will be talking about how families are affected by long distance relationships and ways they can cope with it.
Humans are bound by relationships. Why a man proposes to a girl with an expensive ring, why a child clings to his mom on a crowded street, or why a man comes home to his family- all of these are a result of humans connecting to other humans they consider precious to them. But what will you do if you can no longer be physically present to the people that are important to you? It’s just a simple case of being able to overcome the obstacle of that is called ‘long distance relationship.’ Sounds simple enough, but is it really?
Types of LDR
When long distance relationship is mentioned, most people would often think of two lovebirds who live apart. However, there are other forms of LDR. Generally, this can be categorized into the following:
- Familial. Familial long distance relationship can involve you, your spouse, your kids and the other members of the family that are not living with you inside the house. Grandparents that live in a distant place, your cousins who moved to a different state, your kid moving to a university in another city, or spouse working overseas- all of these are examples of familial LDR.
- Friendship. In the old days, this could have been your pen or phone pal. Yes, these too fall under the LDR relationship. But now you have the social media, email, blogs, and mobile phone. This allows you to have friends too. Although you don’t really them on a face-to-face basis, you still maintain some sort of interaction with them.
- Romantic. As mentioned earlier, this is the most common form of LDR. Couples that never really met but met online and have come into an agreement to be in a relationship, and those who are married or are in a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship but need to live in separate locations due to constraints such as work or education.
What LDR in Family Means
Among the three types of long distance relationships, familial LDR could include more people. How is this affecting the ones involved?
- The grandparents. Long distance relationship with family especially for the older people is very crucial. Many older people are clingy due to feelings of abandonment. Furthermore, they may feel that their kids no longer consider them important and feel useless.
- The kid who goes away. Some kids will need to obtain a degree and go to another city or state in order to do it. Feeling homesick is inevitable at first especially if they are really close to the other members of the family.
- The parent who’s away from home. Just like college kids, parents who need to be away from home could suffer from homesickness too. There is also the possible danger of losing close relationship with spouse and the kids.
- The parent who stays at home. The parent who’s left with the kids may feel the pressure of raising them alone. It can be difficult to manage when you do not have someone to help you brainstorm at the time that you need to make an important decision immediately. You also end up missing your spouse or kid who lives abroad.
- Distant family members. You still need to get in contact with your own brothers or sisters to keep the whole family together. This also lets your kids have a relationship with their cousins, aunts or uncles. Being far away could make you strangers if communication is not encouraged.
How You Can Cope
How LDR affects family will really depend on how you choose to handle it. While feeling lonely at times cannot be helped, there are ways by which you can still maintain family closeness despite the distance. Here are some suggestions:
- Use social media. Snail mail may have connected families together in the past but why use it when you can send a message or chat with your family through the use of social media websites such as Facebook? Aside from communication benefits, adding your children in your circle of friends will keep you updated with their personal activities too.
- Catch up on the phone. Aside from social media sites, another way to get in touch with your spouse, parents, or kids is through landline or mobile phone. If you are someplace where only mobile phone service is allowed, your family is just a text away in case of an emergency, or just simply when you feel like missing them.
- Arrange a family reunion. Call all the other families in your family and ask them to come to your house for a reunion. Better yet, let everybody pitch in so that all of you could go on a relaxing trip somewhere nice. This way, your kids will meet their cousins, and you can hang out together with the other parents, and even let grandma or granddad see how big the kids are now.
- Form friendships where you are. Being far away from home could be lonelier when you don’t have anybody else but yourself. Instead of wishing that your friends or your family are there with you, quench the loneliness by befriending some of the people that are currently with you. Having friends where you are will make your new home less lonely.
- Visit elders. Bring your kids with you and visit your own parents. This will let them know that you have not forgotten about them.
- Follow through. Communication should continue throughout the time that you are away. One of the negative effects of long distance relationship with kids is that they could end up seeing the parent who’s been away as a stranger. And if you are a stranger to them, it will make it difficult for them to be close to you.
- Don’t be away for too long. Being there physically still matters. It’s different when your kids actually see you rather than just a face they see on the Internet. For spouses, this could maintain intimacy.
LDR challenges should not prevent you and other family members from having a real relationship. Loneliness, homesickness, and falling out- all of these things can be solved through your collective effort to communicate with one another. Don’t wait for the others to initiate this. Start it to keep everyone connected.
Author: Holly Easterby
Holly’s love for children has seen her featured in many education and children websites, whether talking about healthy snacks, motivating students or children’s fashion at Bonza Brats. Holly loves reading books, and shopping is her way of spending time with her young family. If you would like to catch her, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @HollyEasterby