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Absentee Parents

The pressures of society are creating an increase of absent parents. I am not referring to those who are absent through divorced or separation but rather those 2 career families or single parents who are out at work. What can be done when our employment takes us away from the family home for either extended or frequent periods of time. Ultimately we face the choice of changing jobs – but I fully understand that could be a last resort, if it were possible at all. So what can the family do to reduce the stress on the resident teens?

Open communication always works best, so it will be good for you as a family to sit around a table and talk the situation through. Explain the reasoning, the financial implication, the future plans with your son/daughter. They will certainly appreciate you taking them into your confidence and will almost every time respond positively. If, as a family, you recognise it as a difficulty then you will put in the necessary extra effort to make it work.

Keeping your promises is essential. Trust is very difficult to maintain if you frequently say one thing and do another. I (and your teen) will appreciate there are times when things happen – but they should be the exception and not the rule. So, if you are going to be away for 3 days then be home on day 4.

Keeping in contact is so easy – there are no excuses. Depending on your situation I suggest logging onto MSN on your laptop and chatting online, sending a text message to their cell phone, maybe even using a phone to actually speak, or why not be antiquated and post them a card. (If you will be home before the postman delivers it then you could always send it as you go rather than when you arrive – or from time to time write it and leave it in their school bag or under their pillow).

When you are at home – be at home. If you have been away all week then Saturday is not the time to play golf but to spend it with your family. I know, but you also know it’s the best thing. If golf is an absolute essential then why not take the family and teach them how to play?

Occasionally it would be good to make the business trip a family one, or if your child is the right age, take them with you – they will probably think the hotel is great (even though you are probably unimpressed with them and have been for a long time).

Never hurts to bring a present home either – a momento from your tripeiffeltower 1 Absentee Parents especially if you go somewhere different, or to bring back a sports item, or photos. Start a family tradition by taking something unique and different (a stuffed animal, a favourite rugby ball (see photo!), a picture, a sculpture or whatever) and take photos with it in unusual places or prominent buildings. A little fun can go a long way. I know someone who stole next doors stone dog that was a door stop and took it on holiday with them and brought it home safe with a photo record of its adventures.

One thing is for sure – if you have to be away then with a little effort you can involve your whole family and reduce the stress and strain.

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