Perhaps you have been used to daily contact with your child or children. Post splitting with the ex this is very likely to change.
When you are not with your children all the time communication with them can become more difficult. That can become worrying, since you want to stay close to your kids, to know what’s going on in their daily lives, and what they’re thinking and feeling. But there are ways to make sure that growing apart doesn’t happen, at least if your children are old enough.
For most kids over the age of eight, computers, tablets and mobile phones are a completely normal part of life. They are also an excellent way for you to communicate with your children. Many kids have email addresses through school, and there are plenty of web-based free mail services. You should, of course, teach them about online safety.
If your kids have a computer at home, set up an email account with gmail, hotmail or one of the many free email services. Instant messaging is also a great way to chat. This makes for a great way to keep in touch. You can set aside time on the weekends you don’t see your children to spend time together online, either chatting or playing online games together. Most computers have a webcam so visual communication through a much more interesting manner - you get to see your kids as well as hear them.
The old fashioned way of communicating through speech on the phone is an excellent way of staying in touch. You can call your kids in the evening, or buy them mobiles and talk to them on their way home from school. It’s a chance for chatting on a regular basis – every evening, if possible. The calls don’t have to be long, just an opportunity for you to catch up on what’s happened during their day. Text messages are equally valuable, especially for teenagers, and texts will often cost less than calls.
My kids seem to have emmbraced snapchat as their preferred form of communication. It's good, if not slightly frustrating, because you get to see and send a picture along with your one line of text and some amateur scribbles. It has a benefit over say Whatsapp because your kids don't need a mobile phone for a snapchat account. They also have a messenger service now in direct competition to Whatsapp. Give Snapchat a try...
What to Talk About With Your Children
Children can be notoriously uncommunicative. Ask about school and you’ll hear “it was okay”, or something similar. Draw them out where you can, by asking a few questions, enough so you can gauge what’s happening. But don’t just talk; listen, too. Let them lead the conversation, talking about things that are important to them. Develop an interest in their interests so you can talk more knowledgeably about them (and you’ll discover that in many cases, interests can change from month to month, so you’ll be playing catch-up). If that fails a few 'How R U? xxx' messages should stimulate some conversation. In my experience it's just good to talk about anything - however short or abstract.
Above all, simply talking is the most important thing, and often it doesn’t matter what you talk about. The more you can do it, the stronger the bond between you and your children will become. Many men only talk to their children when they have contact, and it takes a determined, ongoing effort to keep regular contact, but the results are more than worth it.
Obviously, the situation is far easier when your ex doesn’t put obstacles in your way. But if you have Parental Responsibility, you should be able to have regular access via phone calls or online with your kids.
It’s important to keep as many channels of communication as possible open with your kids. Don’t be afraid to discuss issues they’ll face in life – sex and drugs, for example. These might be addressed at school, but it never hurts to reinforce them. Also, if you talk to your ex and hear about issues that the children have, discuss those with them, too. It’s not simply part of being a parent; it’s also caring and wanting the best for your children.
Good luck with however you decide to communicate with your kids...
Separated Dads Chat Room & Forum
Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.
@Ray - there's FaceTime on iPhones, which when you ring your child you can see their faces when talking to them. It's great. Bella
Bella - 28-Nov-14 @ 2:27 PM
I've just gor Skype so I can talk to my kids when I don't see them. It makes me feel much being able to see them. Is there anything similar out there on a mobile app?
Ray - 26-Nov-14 @ 10:39 AM
Hello guys, I separated from my ex wife 2 years ago (well, she left me while I was in hospital for another guy and took our young kids too) I have taken her to court to get contact because she's not allowed me any contact at all! In our last hearing the judge decided that initially I should start the contact again with my boys via monthly letter... They are 5 and 2 and a half years old btw.. I am really struggling with what I should be talking about/asking in the first letter and was hoping to get advice from you guys.. My ex is a teacher and I know she will be highly critical of the letter I write and I just wanted to get it as perfect as possible.. Thank you so much in advance for any help or advice you can offer. This really means a lot to me.Paul
paulbrighton - 26-Jun-14 @ 9:42 PM
My partner has travelled down to see his son every 2weeks for the last 3years. The journey there and back is over 300 miles and takes 4 hours to go one way. He used to stay at his mothers but that option is now not there. For the last few months hes been paying 300 a month on premier inns. He also pays 150 a month maintenance. This situation has put a lot of strain on our realationship. I obviously know how important it is for him to see his son but this set up is not practical. I have 2 children of my own, my partner spends so much on his visits that he cant contribute towards the bills.. Anyone have some advice or ideas? To add to the stress his ex is complaning he doesnt do enough and that staying in a hotel is not a good environment and that she will stop visits. The situation is making my partner feel like giving up... Which isnt best for his son.
maz - 25-May-14 @ 2:52 PM
I have joint custody with my ex partner for my son. I moved to a different area 2 years ago as my partner couldnt settle were we lived and I was struggling to find work. I had a court order to see my son but came to an agreement to see him the last weekend every month. Anyway Ive also phoned him every week since moving but its a nightmare as I can ring 5 days in a row and she wont answer and even worse now she has moved home and changed her phone number and itsbeen 2 weeks now since ive managed to speak to him at her home luckily ive managed to speak to him at a reletives last week and my question is with having joint custody is she lkable to provide me with a phone number to contact him? I do have a mobile but she never answers it.
Mike - 8-Apr-14 @ 8:55 PM
hello i havent seen my kids now for 9months as my ex partner wont allow ne to iv do everythink i can to see them an shes is still being funny abwt it iv got intouch with her on more then one occiasion we have had problems since we have spilt up i did have the kids in my care for 7months as i have got a little boy in hosptile he is one now an she has stopped me from going to see him i am in a bit of a mess as i dnt no wot to do next the chliden mean loads to me an i wont stop trying to see them as that is all i want she aint a good mum as she didnt do anythink with the chliden when we wos together i am scared that my childen aint getting looked after the way thay are surposed to thanks for lisingnathan smith
nay - 5-Mar-14 @ 3:50 PM
Hi I would like to ask a question about my brothers situation. He came home from work one day from work and his partner had emptied the house and left with the children with no note etc. Apparently social services had put them in a refuge as she claimed my bro was violent.He denies this he wasn't arrested and hes not being investigated and is starting to go through a solicitor to gain access. She apparently is under social services who can only tell us that the kids aee ok. We are all at the end of our emotional tether and with no access no answers no help will feel like we are in mourning. Can we do anything?
Lisa Young - 3-Jul-13 @ 7:32 PM
My partner has a daughter who has got a learning difficulty. His ex has ran away from her responsibility and lived far away. Now our relationship is suffering because of his child. i am finding it very difficult to cope to have her everyday. I would'nt mind sharing the responsibility but not everyday. How can we get his ex to be take part of her responsibility. Its not fair that she is having a single, hassle free life and left all the responsibilities to my partner. Is there a way we cn ask the court about shared custody to parents who refused to take responsibility.
Chang - 27-Aug-12 @ 11:15 PM
I haven’t seen my kids for 2 years as my ex wife won’t allow me access. She took out a restraining order to say that I’m not allowed near our FMH and the kids school. There is absolutely no history of violence or abuse in this case. I want to apply for a contact order to see my kids but I’m not sure if I’d be successful due to the restraining order. Also will I get into trouble if I send my children birthday cards as they have birthdays coming up and I don’t want them to think that I don’t care about them, when I do.
Devoteddad - 22-Jun-12 @ 10:45 AM
Me and the wife have recently decided to seperate. We constantly argue with each other and neither one of us can seem to make the other happy anymore. we have three beautiful kids. My oldest daughter is 6, my son is 4 and my youngest daughter turns 2 in august. I have always heard that it's not good to stay together for the kids. The things she is struggling with is having to be alone and having to take care of the kids when I'm not there. I know it's going to be hard on her but I don't think that we need to be together if all we are going to do is fuss and fight in front of the kids. I guess what I need to know is am I making the right decision?
none - 15-Jun-12 @ 9:18 PM
Can someone give me some advice please, my ex-wife won't even let me talk to my two boys on the phone. I have parental responsibilty, I have been advised by my solictor not to get in contact until my directions hearing on the 3th August. Also can anyone point me in the right direction for support? The thing that really does wind me up she walked out on her other two childern when they were six and four. Please help!