As a father of a Tween and a kid that lives over 1000 miles away from me, it is hard to discuss anything with my kids that I would normally be able to do when they are right in front of me.  I’ve had to have a gentle touch in my discussions.

Unfortunately my tween Shelby, who is ten, hates giving me bad news over the phone. She is a wonderfully smart young lady.  But her teachers don’t challenge her enough and because of this, she is bored constantly.  So when she gets in trouble she hates calling me because a. she doesn’t want to disappoint me, and b. she doesn’t want to hear the “SHELBY!!!” that comes from my mouth.

Now I think tone is the most important thing you can do as a parent to declare your anger, disgust, etc.  There are some that use corporal punishment as the first action. I disagree with this and only use it as a last resort.

My solution, sentences.  Long, boring, painful for your hands sentences.

“I will not attempt to flush my brothers toys down the toilet.”
“I will respect my father and mother even if I know better or the one that I knew she hated to write,

“I will not bite my classmate even though he pushed me.”

After 50 times of writing this, she is willing to do anything to avoid her hand hurting.  You might say, what keeps her from blowing off the sentences and just doing whatever? Everything she has to play, enjoy is removed and she is to finish them before anything. Play, dinner etc.

After a couple of having to write sentences she will do whatever it takes to never have to write sentences ever again.

So when I am 1000 miles away, tone and the thought of hearing me say “Shelby, go get a pad of paper, a pencil and your mother,” causes chills to run down her spine.

Now that being said, I spoil my kids when I do see them, I take time off from work so we can have 100% time together.

We go to games, museums, anything that makes their eyes go wide with excitement.

Normally I get them for a week every summer. I wish I could take them the entire summer, but its hard to find someone to watch the kids for the summer that doesn’t suck every last cent from me.

BUT ever dollar spent on the kids is well worth it.

I just watch them sleep some nights when they are here. They are so peaceful , so innocent.  I miss them each and every day.  There are many days, I want them to talk to me, tell me about there bad day, good day anything.  But some days they are busy doing something or they just don’t want to talk.

Being a long distance dad sucks.  There is nothing I can do 300+ days a year.  I can’t change behavior or prevent it before it starts.  There are some days that I feel that even though they are my kids, I’m just a bystander as my ex-wife’s new fiance has the responsibility to defend them because I’m not there.

Why not move up there?  It’s a good question and I only have one answer, my late friend Janice.

You see Janice had a dad and a mom who went through divorce and I watched her manipulate both of those parents with guilt trips and angry fights to get her way.  She did whatever it took to bounce the 20 miles between them. It was easy for the one parent to drop her off so  they wouldn’t have to deal with her outbreaks.

And Janice continued to play them off on each other.  Then Janice got caught up in drugs, both parents blamed the other and neither got Janice the help she needed.

And she od’ed.

It was the other parents problem.  Not theirs.

With my ex and I so far apart, it makes it harder for us to be played off on, even though we both have to communicate with each other as a PARTNERSHIP to benefit OUR children.

Is it a perfect arrangement, probably not.  Is it best for me, hell no. I wish I could hold my kids nightly.

But that’s life. It don’t come easy.

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