Saturday, June 11, 2011


This is the THIRD part in a series called   PARENTS LIVING UNDER DIFFICULTIES.

"My occupation as an international pilot, means that at times I have to parent from a distance.
It is very important to me to maintain a normal, healthy Family environment for all of us. Some months I have less than half the normal parenting time in New Zealand to achieve this, so the need to spend time together as a Family can prove to be difficult. 
For my wife it can feel like being a solo parent and this naturally develops independence. This needs to be managed carefully by me when I am home, as it is easy to arrive home and effectively upset the normal day-to-day routine from my wife's perspective. We almost have to plan time, so that the two of us can spend time together to just talk and catch up in general.
It is difficult but important for me to ensure I am in touch with the children on a daily basis, to ask them how their day was and what they have learned at school. It is easier to stay in contact with my wife at any time of the day but this can prove to be difficult in general with large time zone changes between countries and it can mean I may not talk to them for a few days.
From a parenting together perspective it is important to both be on the same page in terms of the Family plan.... This requires a 'hand over' as such, so I am up to speed with the children and their needs. This is not that easy to achieve as it is more important for me, being away, than it is for my wife. She is already aware of any day-to-day issues of course but it is important for me to find out what is going on and what is planned for the next period that I am home.
Although I can be away quite a bit an advantage of this lifestyle is that I can spend a whole week or more, 24 hours a day, with my Family between trips. I would spend far more time with my Family in that week than almost any other parent I know who is working.
Living up here in the country has been an enjoyable move for us as a Family compared to our Latte drinking days in the Eastern suburbs. Parents living their lives for themselves and not for the children.... caught up in the 'keeping up with the Jones' scenario.
I appear to be old fashioned compared to some of my peers in terms of things like ~
    *  I usually ensure we sit down together a Family for dinner at any opportunity, even though 
        the girls are very young.
    *  I usually encourage the girls to play by the fire to do puzzles and read at their age to avoid 
        excessive television.
    *  We talk to our children constantly about how important manners are and the importance of
        treating other people with respect especially people who are older than themselves.
I think the biggest cause of families not coping is the lack of communication. People are forgetting to talk about their day-to-day issues, marriage issues, children and financial issues. They struggle to deal with the backlog of perceived problems as they arise because they are constantly avoiding them, and either haven't been brought up with strong values or they do not have the skills, support or inclination to work their way through these things. 
Taking some pride in what you do and who you are, would go a long way. I don't have the answers but I do have the awareness of the way Society is and its downsides. Helping people identify their own issues and problems is a good start. And when they have the tools and start communicating they will go a long way, if not get there!!"

THISWEEKWITHTHEKIDS ~ a timely reminder is presented here for us all to make the most of our times together as Families - our need to identify, plan and put into practice routines and habits which 'glue' us together more as a Family. What that means in your Family is probably different to what it will be in mine. This week ask your Family for ideas on how they would like to to spend more time together enjoying being a Family.

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