I'm Mexican but I lived in Chicago for 15 years. I have a son who is just about to turn 4 years old. His father and I separated when Bobby was just a year old. I was fighting for custody for two years and when I finally was just about to get it, my son's grandfather made me do something horrible that I got deported to Mexico.
Now I live in Mexico since last summer without my son. It's been horrible because I know my son is suffering too.
I cannot have communication with Robert (my son's father) because his parents don't let him. All I want is to see my son and my attorney tries to get a good agreement with Robert's attorney but since his parents are involved they don't want me to see my son anymore.
This is such a long and sad story and don't know how to handle this anymore.
Thank God I can call my son every night and also I see him every other Sunday through Skype. But other than that, Robert is not willing to let me see my son in person.
My son has told me a few times that we cannot see each other anymore because I'm too far from him. And when he says that to me he sounds sad and upset.
How can I handle this or what when I say to him.
I love him to death and I know this is affecting him too much.
I really appreciate your time for reading me.
Thanks a lot.
From: A desperate mother, Toluca, Mexico
As an absent parent (regardless of how or why you are absent), the best thing you can do for your child is to maintain regular contact and be a consistent presence in his life. Don't spent time on your phone calls talking about how sad you are to not see him, or asking him how much he misses you. That will only make him sad and, eventually, could become a burden for him to the point where he won't want to talk to you.
Instead, use your phone time to be a presence in his life and to build a relationship with him. Read him a goodnight story over the phone. Maybe the same story every night will be a source of comfort. Create a ritual for saying goodnight. Teach him Spanish. Tell him a story about yourself, about when you were a little girl, or about what you did today. Most of all, ask him questions: "What did you do today? First, you got up...Then what?" Help him to make a narrative of his day, almost like a story book. "What did you wear today? What's your favorite color to wear?" "Did you do anything silly today?"
If you are able to communicate via the mail, send him drawings you make & ask him to send you his. Make it your goal to be a positive, interested and loving presence in his life, so that as something happens during the day, he will think, "I can't wait to tell mom about that!"
OK, here are some "don'ts:"
Don't take it personally if some conversations are shorter than others; he's a kid. What's important is to be someone he can count on, even if it's just for a phone call.
Don't bad mouth his dad or his grandparents. Just don't go there. When he mentions them, go out of your way to be generous: "That was nice, that your dad took you to the zoo." And then bite your tongue so that you don't say, "I wish I could have been there, too." If it's grandma birthday, tell him, "Wish grandma happy birthday for me."
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