Do you have an adult son or daughter who has emigrated, moved overseas or has chosen to live many miles away?
Hi. If, like us, you have an adult son or daughter who has emigrated or who has chosen to live many miles away, then you know all too well the impact this can have on you and the rest of your family.
Just how do you cope when your child moves far away?
The close-knit family life you may have hoped for may have changed overnight. It might feel like you are riding an emotional roller coaster on a very bumpy track. Other people can find your situation difficult to understand and can even make you feel worse with their unhelpful comments.
If you've discovered this site, it's likely that you're looking for some support and understanding from people in the same situation who know what it's like.
Some challenges of being a Scattered Family
Having a scattered family with an adult child living miles away brings many challenges that most other families don't have to face and sometimes can't even understand.
Here are just a few of the feelings we can experience and problems we have to deal with:
You want your children to be happy, but when they move such a long way away, you may be far from happy yourself. Maybe you feel abandoned or ‘left behind’? Perhaps you feel rejected. You could even feel, well…angry? The feelings can be overwhelming at times. Of course you want to be supportive and encouraging, and you’ll likely try to project those positive qualities when you can, but underneath, you may be struggling.
Not feeling part of your children’s lives.
Let’s be honest, when your son or daughter lives overseas or thousands of miles away, there are obvious drawbacks. It’s not like you can pop around for a casual visit on a regular basis and become familiar with the detail of their lives. Their home, their friends, the shops where they buy their groceries – it’s hard to form a picture of what their daily life is like. It can feel like they live in another world. You might find yourself worrying that you will lose the closeness that you enjoyed before, that you will drift apart or lose touch.
Living in different time zones.
If you’re lucky, you might only have to deal with a few hours’ difference. But for families dealing with a big time difference, it can be really inconvenient when it comes to having a chat on the phone. You might have to ring first thing in the morning, or last thing at night – not necessarily times when either person is at their best!
Not being able to celebrate family occasions together.
Yes, some families can get together for every birthday, anniversary and wedding. But Scattered Families can’t get together so easily. When families are separated by big distances, travel costs can present a barrier. And it can be hard for people to agree time off from work (or school for grandchildren) to attend regular or frequent family events. Spontaneous celebrations might not be possible any more as everyone involved needs to plan ahead.
Being surrounded by other close-knit families.
It’s not easy, when you’re sorely missing members of your own family, to see other families having a good time together. You don’t want to be cranky with your friends when they tell you about the fun they had with their children or grandchildren over the weekend, but hearing about it can make you really sad that you can’t enjoy similar face-to-face meet-ups.
One of the things you definitely don’t factor in when you are bringing up your own children is having to pay for expensive airline tickets just to be able to see them when they are adults. So you may not have done the kind of financial planning whilst raising your family that allows you to freely fork out for regular air travel now. And the bigger the distance that separates you, the more expensive the cost of travel is likely to be.
Cycles of reunions and partings.
When a reunion is on the horizon, looking forward to it and doing a daily countdown can be as much of a pleasure as the actual visit itself. In reality, the visit itself can be a bit intense at times! You only get to see one another once in a while, but then you are thrown together for several days or even several weeks! Different personalities, different habits and routines, and even different expectations can all add to the challenge. Scattered Families often have to put in more effort all round to make their get‑togethers successful. Having a son or daughter living far away means that, of course, at some point every visit has to come to a definite end. Which means it’s time to say goodbye rather than 'see you next week'. Partings are all the harder when you know that it will be a good while before you can all see one another again.
So if you have an adult son or daughter who has emigrated, moved overseas or has chosen to live many miles away, then we know what it's like. If you're looking for some support and understanding from people in the same situation then we why not join us? Take a look around our site and do get in touch.