Living Columns & Blogs

Make a plan to connect with kids living at a distance

With one of my sons attending college out of state, I struggle with staying connected to him and communicating at a healthy level. I want to talk with him enough to stay in the loop, and convey my love and support, but not so much as to be overbearing or annoying, especially as he’s (appropriately) working on being more independent. How do I find that balance? 


▪ Think about how you communicated with your parents, and vice versa, when you first moved out of the house. Despite newer technology today, how did you feel in general about the amount and types of contact? Does this inform you about how to communicate with your daughter?

▪ Talk with your wife about streamlining communication, so that your child isn’t spinning his wheels having separate phone/text conversations about the same things with each of you. Schedule Facetime or three-way calls and try group texts to cut down on individual texting.

▪ If possible, plan an annual visit. Look for events like “Dad’s Weekend,” or schedule around a football game or other event. Don’t set yourself up for failure with a surprise trip.

▪ Talk with your daughter — what’s her ideal type and level of contact? Be receptive to connecting at times that might not be convenient to you, but that work for her schedule and might comfort her. Given the uniqueness of each father-son/daughter relationship, recognize communication patterns may differ between you and each of your children.

▪ An old-fashioned letter, card or package is always welcome, and would be a great surprise, especially in today’s digital age.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact Mick Trombley at or Marc McCann at