Every family looks different. While much of the time parents are involved romantically with each other, this is not always the case, especially not in the modern world.
Sometimes parents get divorced, break up, or were never involved romantically to begin with. When both parents want to play an active part in their child’s development, but they are not involved in a romantic relationship, they may opt for a technique called “co-parenting.”
What is co-parenting? Many parents opt to use the term to describe a new, collaborative parenting style, but the specific techniques used may look different for every family. This is especially the case when one parent is planning to move abroad or already lives in another country.
Why co-parent from two different countries?
There are numerous reasons why parents might end up living in two different countries. Many parents have different interests, goals, family histories, and even citizenships which may draw one parent to live far away.
Here are some potential reasons why a parent will consider moving abroad:
- Some parents may move for work. Either they already have a job that requires traveling often for work and they move abroad to be closer to the hub, or they receive a promotion or new job offer that requires them to move abroad to relocate to a different office.
- One parent is involved with the military and is deployed overseas.
- A parent becomes romantically involved with someone who lives in another country and moves abroad to be closer to their new partner.
- The parents will have different nationalities or were born in different countries but move to be together or to have children. At some point, it may be necessary or desirable for one person to move back to their home country to attend to their other family members or be closer to home.
How to Co-Parent From Abroad
It’s no secret that co-parenting from a separate country is a difficult task. Not only this, but it is something that will differ from one family to the next, as every parenting style is different and every kid’s needs are unique.
First and foremost, it is necessary to consider visitation and times the parent and child can see each other.
This will depend on your and your child’s needs and schedules. It will also involve both communication between co-parents as well as a deep understanding of the logistics at play.
It is also extremely important to be present and engaged with your child, even from a distance. If you are the parent who is in a different country from your child, make sure to uphold commitments and have a clear picture of what goes on in your child’s life.
Being a part of your child’s life in any way possible should be a continuous priority for those looking to parent from abroad. Examples of how to do so might include:
- Ask them specific questions about school, friends, or extracurriculars. Make sure they have the space to speak openly about what goes on in their life, so avoid questions that have a simple answer and opt for questions that encourage them to share their opinion.
- Share an activity with them. Even from a distance, you can do things you enjoy together. Try watching a show or movie, playing an online card or board game, or finding a way to engage with one of their interests virtually.
- Try to stay positive. Balance out any discipline with positive comments, avoid negatively commenting on your co-parent, and making sure to follow through on promises.
While co-parenting can be hard and distance co-parenting even harder, eventually you and your family, with work and patience, can come to find a routine and flow that feels natural.
While it is important to examine your needs and determine that moving abroad is the right choice for you, co-parents also know that the needs of their children come first.
Finding a way to balance those needs may be a challenge, but with a little patience and dedication, co-parenting can be a successful approach to raising your child.