Thursday, March 6, 2014

When Dad Travels a Lot – How to Still Be an Effective Parent

As if it is not already difficult for a family to stay together, it is necessary for some dads to travel a lot. This can cause a fair amount of stress on the family, and cause some dads to feel guilty about being away so often.         

However, there is no need for any man to feel bad about being required to be away from home if that time away serves a useful purpose. After all, if the dad did not do what his superiors asked of him-even to travel-he may not be able to keep his job. 

Even if a man cannot be home all the time he can still be a dad even when on the road. It is especially easier in this present technological age for a man to keep in touch with his wife and children while on the road.

The use of the Internet, laptop computers, cell phones, handheld devices, and other communication media help a dad to be able to talk to his family on a daily basis.  Taking advantage of this type of technology does not replace the physical presence of having a child around. 

However, what a child needs to know most of all is that their dad is willing to be there whenever possible. Furthermore, it is important for a man-even a man on the road a lot-to continue to show his children that he loves them.   This can be done by talking to them as often as possible, even if it is just a few minutes a day to say “good night”.

Even if a dad cannot be physically present in his children’s life there are other ways he can engage with them, even by telephone or Internet.  Perhaps he can tell them a bedtime story over the phone, or he can set up a web cam which will help his child to actually see him, wave to him, and know that his dad is still there.

For older children whose father is away, maybe the dad can take a few minutes out of his day to play an online video game with his child via the Internet.  This may especially be useful for fathers who are the parent of pre-teens and adolescent children. It does not replace traditional bonding time, but helps lessen the blow of a father’s distance.

There is one thing that a man away from home will want to beware of.  It sometimes it is far too easy for a many to “buy” his children’s love with gifts and money, and other material things. This is great, but what children need with their father most of all is to feel emotionally connected with their father, and to feel protected by him in some way.

Along with that, a child needs to know that if a family emergency were to happen that their father would do his best to drop everything and to come home as soon as possible. 

Another important aspect of being an affective traveling dad is to for that dad to keep his promises. No parent is perfect, and sometimes it is impossible to always follow through on a scheduled date with a child. However, it is very important for a dad who is away quite often to not forget how important it is that he keeps his dates with his children and his wife as often as he can.

In the event a father is not sure he can make it home for a certain event in a child’s life, such as a soccer game, birthday, or school play, it is recommended that the man “play it safe.”  In other words, it would be better for a father to be honest with the child and say that even he cannot make it on a special day that he will make a plan for when he can come home.

If necessary, it would benefit a father to even schedule dates with his family on a calendar. After all, if his work appointments are important enough to put on a calendar then why not make it a point to place the most valuable people in his life on the calendar as well?

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