Living Columns & Blogs

Distance is difficult for dads and kids

Macarena Donoso and her father have been apart since she left Ecuador four years ago to study at Penn State.
Macarena Donoso and her father have been apart since she left Ecuador four years ago to study at Penn State. Photo provided

Born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, I left home to attend Penn State four years ago. I loved growing up in Ecuador and am extremely close to my family.

For these reasons, leaving home has been one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life, filled with incredible homesickness. It’s also been one of the most amazing parts of my life.

I am lucky and blessed to have a father in my life, someone I have looked up to since I was a little girl. I know it’s difficult on him and my mom, but I hope he realizes that my adventure — while wonderful — is also very difficult for me, and his support is crucial.


▪ Think about when you were a teenager or young adult. Were you ever separated by significant distance and time from your father? If so, how do you think he felt or dealt with this?

▪ While it may be difficult for you to have your daughter be far away — remember it’s hard for her, also. Make regular “dates” to speak with her via Skype, iPhone, etc. Consider sending a letter at least each week to stay in touch.

▪ Keep in mind that all your hard work, dedication, patience, support and love absolutely pay off. Your kids appreciate it more than they may show.

▪ Make plans to see each other as soon as you can. Talk about possible vacations or family trips you could plan for the near future, to keep your relationship strong.

Macarena Donoso was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador, the youngest of three kids. She attended an American School in Quito, where she studied English as a second language. She is a junior at Penn State, majoring in human development and family studies.

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 David Eggebeen at, Robert Orndorff at, Mick Trombley at, Chris Dufour at, Mark Oleynik at, Doug Loviscky at, or Marc McCann at