The greater the expectation of contact, the stronger the emotional reaction can be.
I wanted to talk about a topic that is in high demand right now: a child away from his father. Bored, but refuses contact, or becomes very upset during a conversation.
What is important for us to remember?
What is obvious to us is not at all clear to a child. And it is important for us to clarify this. We can’t imagine what the child thought.
The perception of the baby is egocentric. If the father is not around, in the perception of the child there may be a feeling that “he left me on purpose, he does not want to be with me, something is more important to him than me.”
It is important for both us and the parent himself to repeat more often: “Your father (I) is so sorry that he (I) is not with you now. If I could, I would be there every minute. You are the most important thing in our life.”
If the child is with his mother in another city or country: “Father (I) is not around, not because he decided so and left you, but because he cannot leave the country.”
It is important for a child (of course, if the father is not in the Armed Forces) the regularity of contact with the father. Then it is easier for him to wait for the call, to withstand the stress. Regularity is about reliable communication.
If the father cannot call or write, it is important to warn the child about this.
If each time the child experiences pain while waiting for closeness and unattainability, he will refuse it. Will withdraw from contact. Avoid talking about your father.
It is important for mom to answer questions about her father, to give an opportunity to show fears, to say that she also misses her husband very much.
You can ask: “What would you like to tell dad about?”
It is important to create new rituals of intimacy – perhaps the words of greeting and goodbye, perhaps dad can read a little fairy tale before going to bed or just say “kiss”.
The more pauses in communication, the more expectations from contact, the greater the emotional reaction can be – in any manifestations. If there are fewer pauses, there may be fewer tantrums, disappointments, and tears.
When a child is upset, it is important to support him: “I miss you so much too, it’s so hard for me to say goodbye to you.” And try to switch his attention to the future: “What will you do after our conversation?” (help the child make plans). And tell you exactly when you can get in touch.
Great ideas are to record short video messages that you can show your child if there is no connection. Or dad can record an audio fairy tale.