What can I do to help my daughter understand that her dad went to work in another country?

Answer

I hope that this is just a short-term temporary solution, and Dad plans to be a part of her life. Otherwise, your daughter will continue to suffer because of his absence. While earning a living is certainly important, keeping the family together is even more critical. Hopefully, the two of you can brainstorm other solutions that aren't so drastic and detrimental to your daughter's emotional well-being.

You didn't say how old she is. If she's little, put a big calendar on the refrigerator. Have her X out each day until her father returns home. This will serve as a visual reminder of the days passing. Telling a child who is younger than 7 that daddy will be home in two weeks or two months means nothing to them since they have little or no concept of time.

More importantly, let your daughter express her emotions, especially her sadness, jealousy, anger, and hurt. These are all perfectly normal under the circumstances. Listen compassionately without judgment or commentary. Then, repeat back what she said in your own words, focusing on her feelings. For example: “I hear you saying that you're envious of your friends with dads who take them to the park and dance class. You wish that your father could do the same.”

Keep communication going between her and her dad by Skyping, phoning texting, e-mailing, writing letters, and sending packages. Encourage her to create cards and drawings for him.

Make sure her dad knows that he means much more than a paycheck. While we downplay the importance of fathers in today's society, there's no doubt that kids are better off with involved ones in their lives. Sadly, some dads simply don't know how consequential they are to their children's mental and emotional health. Make certain that her dad knows.

I wish you and your daughter well with this. Hopefully, you'll all be together again soon.

Updated on February 18, 2020

Original Article:

Fatherless Daughters: How Growing Up Without a Dad Affects Women
By McKenna Meyers
working

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