Long-distance Parenting

Mentoring Tips

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Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • Tell me about your upbringing? As parents, what did your dad and mom do well? What do you wish they had done differently?
    • What parenting techniques did your parents use that were helpful for you?
    • Tell me about your children. What one word would you use to describe each of your children? How does the uniqueness of each of your children affect your parenting?
    • Describe your relationship with each child and how he/she reacts to your discipline/instruction?
    • What type of people do you want your children to become? How are you fostering these traits in them?
    • How did you prepare your children for deployment?
    • How are the children able to communicate with their deployed parent?
Deeper Questions
    • How often do your children attend church/Sunday School/AWANA/Youth group?
    • What connections have you made in the community? Are your children involved in a play group, scouting or other activities offered on base?
    • How are you encouraging spiritual development in your child?
    • How are you helping your kids understand their spiritual responsibilities?
    • What boundaries have you set for your children? Have you explained why these boundaries are important? Are any of these boundaries different during deployment?
    • Have you discussed/established expectations for each of your children in their academic achievement, behavior, spiritual growth and family relationships?
    • How often do you pray with your children? What sorts of things do you pray about together?
    • What are the types of questions you ask your children? How well do you listen to their responses?
    • Do you feel like you are connecting with your children? If so, how? If not, do you know why?
    • How are you and your spouse parenting as a team? In what ways could you do better?
    • How do you and your spouse ensure consistency with your children while during deployment?
    • How often do you and your spouse talk about how things are going with the children? Do you each feel listened to and understood?
    • What do you do if there are issues that need to be addressed?
    • How does your life reflect the faith you are trying to teach your children? How could you live that out in a more tangible way?
    • How can you keep your husband involved in family mattes, while he is away, but also spare him the mundane?
    • If your husband is deployed, how will you balance taking care of so many things yourself while affirming to your children that your husband is still the head of the house?
    • When your husband does return, how can you make his transition home smooth and welcoming? How will you plan to begin decreasing your authority with the children so that his authority can increase?
    • When your wife returns, how can you make her transition home smooth and welcoming? How can you give her time to decompress without immediately assuming all of her parenting and household duties?
  • - Linda Montgomery, Tough Teaching for Parents

    “How counter-cultural would it be to have children who look at their circumstances of deployment and understand that God has a purpose specifically designed for them through this experience? He has something to teach them of His character—something that will set them apart from the rest of the world, something that will defeat bitterness and resentment.”

  • - Kathy Morelli, Ten Tips to Bonding with your Kid during Deployment

    “The general quality of the home atmosphere and the family parent-child relationship before deployment impacts your parent-child relationship during and after deployment. Securely attached children are more resilient and can receive love from caring, substitute caregivers more securely and readily than children who did not have the wonderful benefit of your consistent, loving parenting.”

  • - Rebecca Dion, Long Distance Parenting

    “Being a long-distance parent requires hard work and a steady commitment. The more you let your child know you are thinking about him, the more connected you will both feel.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, p.83

    “There is a cause and effect between encouragement and confidence. Kids who hear well-timed and well-placed affirmation from their parents are more easily convinced of the truth the Bible says about their intrinsic worth.”

  • - Stormie Omartian, The Power of a Praying Parent, p.22

    “The battle for our children’s lives is waged out on our knees. When we don’t pray, it’s like sitting on the sidelines watching our children in a war zone getting shot at from every angle. When we do pray, we’re in the battle alongside them, appropriating God’s power on their behalf.”

  • - Tim Kimmel, Grace-Based Parenting, p. 9

    “The proof that any model of parenting is effective is not how the parents and children get along. It isn’t even how well they treat and respect each other after they are all grown up. Even nonreligious families can accomplish this. The real test of a parenting model is how well-equipped the children are to move into adulthood as vital members of the human race.”

  • - Jim and Bea Fishback, Defending the Military Family, p.58

    “A military family should develop a plan for dealing with deployments. This gives children a sense of stability during the upheaval of multi-transitions. They will know what to expect each time a separation occurs and that their parents are working together in spite of being physically apart.”

Next Steps
    • Good job accepting responsibility for your children and family despite the challenges of deployment.
    • Make a plan with your spouse regarding your children’s activities and development for this time of deployment. Discuss this with your children as well.
    • Together with each child, set a spiritual goal and discuss how important spiritual growth is. You could decide to read a Christian book at the same time to discuss it or memorize verses.
    • Pray regularly, asking the Lord for wisdom and guidance in the area of parenting.
    • Seek out other Christian parents who are dealing with deployment. Meet together for fellowship, sharing each others’ burdens, wisdom and experience.
    • Set up g-mail accounts for your children so you can write personal e-mails to them and do so! Even if the e-mail is only 2 or 3 lines, it lets them know you are thinking of them and love them.
    • If you are able to Skype, be sure to include everyone. Be upbeat and happy. Let your communication as a family be a fun occasion, not a time of dread when everyone is disciplined.
    • Talk/e-mail with your spouse about parenting issues, preferably privately, and take these discussions to heart, asking when and how you can help. Decide together how to tackle problems and show a united front when communicating decisions to the children.
    • Pray with the family via Skype or tell them in your e-mails what you have been praying for each of them.
    • Work on your relationship with each child. The spouse who is not the in-house authority figure at the moment may find the children are more open to sharing their problems, fears and concerns with you.
    • Actions speak louder than words. Fulfill your responsibilities as a godly parent whether you are the one at home or the one miles away.
    • Look to God’s Word for principles to address problems your children face or decisions which need to be made. Read, study and memorize the Bible.
    • Read an online article or book from the suggested resources and discuss it.
    • How can I help you deal with your long-distance parenting concerns?