I have been offered a job in another country. I am worried about my sons and don’t know how to tell them. I am also worried my X wife might use this against me with them. I have been sharing the parenting since our split and have a great relationship with my sons. This is an opportunity I can’t refuse for many reasons. What can I do to make it easier for my sons?
A parent moving a long way away can be stressful for children of divorce. It increases their sense of loss. However, in today’s world there are many ways to help ease that stress.
First of all you need to tell your former wife and sons as soon as possible so they can start to get used to the idea.
Be open and honest about this opportunity. Be positive with your X wife and ask for her support in this new venture. You are not doing this to shirk your duty as a father but as a career advancement.
I am assuming it will mean a salary increase which can benefit your sons, perhaps adding to their post-secondary educational fund. If you and your X wife are on speaking terms, tell her that although you will be far away, you will still do everything you can to support her with parenting issues.
If your parents or other members of your family are available try to enlist their support to fill in when they are able to help. Your former wife is likely to feel some resentment. You have been a part of the parenting and the distance will mean that your help will no longer be directly available.
Try to work out solutions before you leave, be pro-active in whatever problems you might see arise. Ask her what worries her most. Do as much problem solving as you can before you leave.
Be sensitive to the sense of abandonment she will be feeling. Both of you as parents are no doubt very aware of the issues that might be encountered. By putting aside differences and working together you ensure a better chance of a smooth transition for your children after you leave.
You need to assure your sons there will be a place for them when they come to visit. It is very important for children to know there is a place and space for them in your life. They will be worried about that until their first visit with you in your new home.
You will also need to deal with the fact they will miss you. They might put on a brave face but because you have been very much a part and present in their life they will feel an enormous sense of loss. This distance will be a new challenge for them.
The new job is exciting but means quite a change for the rest of your family. Your emotions are very different from the others directly involved. Again be sensitive to their feelings.
Use the most effective social media app to make sure your sons know you are available to them. The first few months will be crucial and might be quite a roller coaster of emotion for everyone. You will miss your sons and no doubt feel very alone at times. Be good to yourself, admit those feelings and whenever possible talk to your sons. Hearing their voices will help you.
With time, everyone should find their footing in this new arrangement. Don’t expect overnight success and be appreciative of the new responsibilities your former wife has assumed. Be patient as your family adjusts and keep working toward the goal of a fulfilling career and secure, happy sons.
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ABOUT LINDA SIMPSON
“I take strength from your calm, your honesty, and the hope you give me for my future.” Cheryl
Linda is a fresh voice in the divorce advice world. She offers a pragmatic, common sense approach to life after divorce issues based on over twenty years surviving and thriving following a very traumatic divorce.
As a single parent, her sons are an enormous source of joy in her life. She is a loving mother and grandmother to four delightful grandchildren.
She holds a degree from the University of Waterloo with concentrations in sociology and philosophy and guidance counselling certification from Queen’s University.
She is an accredited trainer for The Peace Education Foundation, a leader in conflict resolution training. The institute is ‘dedicated to educating children and adults in the dynamics of conflict resolution and promoting peacemaking skills in home, schools, and community.’
In a long and successful teaching career, she also served as a counsellor and workshop facilitator for SEL (social emotional learning) programming and The Peace Education Foundation throughout her school and school district and was a frequent conference presenter for SUNY Potsdam Faculty of Education USA.
She writes for The Divorce Magazine UK and her blog is seen regularly on Huffington Post Canada where the focus is life after divorce and parenting issues.
She is a writer and poet and is presently at work on a book based on her divorce experience.