Being a parent in the military is a challenge, even when they live at home with you. When you are divorced and they live with the other parent, things can get much more difficult. The very nature of your job and the possibilities that come along with it can mean that seeing your children is complicated, and it might not happen as often as you’d like.
One option that might make things a tad easier is to use virtual visitation to spend time with your child. This enables you to communicate with them without having to get there in person. You don’t use these in place of face-to-face visits. They are meant to be supplemental.
What are virtual visits?
Virtual visits happen in a way other than in person. You can use things like video chats, text messages, emails and similar methods of communication. Online chat services, such as FaceTime and Skype, can benefit parents and children who are in this position.
How can they help the relationship?
“Out of sight, out of mind” certainly applies to parents who are in the military and don’t see their parents often. By using virtual visits, you can still take part in your child’s life despite the miles between you. You can tailor the visits to your child’s needs. Help a school-age child with math homework or read a book to a younger child. You can also ask about their day and find out what they are looking forward to. This is your parenting time, so use it in a way that you can build the relationship with your child.
What are the limitations?
You need to think about the time zone the child is in and the child’s schedule when determining the time for a virtual visit. You might have to get up in the middle of the night in your area, such as if you are serving overseas and your child is stateside, to have the visit.
The child must be free to communicate with the parent just as they would in person. The adult who is at home with the kid can’t hover in an attempt to censor the conversation.
Virtual visitation is a point to include in the parenting plan. Not only does this ensure that you have a legal basis for enforcing your visits, it can also set specific terms.