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Long-Distance Parenting Tips: Keeping Connected with Your Expat Child

By January 26, 2024February 1st, 2024FinGlobal, Newsletter

Long-Distance Parenting Tips: Keeping Connected with Your Expat Child

January 26, 2024


Moving abroad and leaving parents behind can have a significant impact on both the emigrant adult child and their parents. It is essential to acknowledge and address these psychological effects of moving to another country, such as separation anxiety and the emotional stages of moving abroad. However, it is possible to maintain a meaningful connection with your emigrant adult child.

Long distance parenting tips to stay connected with your expat child:

Invest your time wisely

As a parent, time is one of your most valuable resources. How you choose to invest your time reflects your values. By choosing to invest your time in maintaining a relationship with your adult child, you are showing them that they are still an essential part of your life. Regular communication is key to bridging distance and technology has made it easier than ever before. With just the click of a button, you can video call your child to celebrate special occasions or share photos of daily adventures.

A guide, not an authority figure

As your child matures, their relationship with you will change. Instead of being an authority figure who sets rules, you can become a guide or mentor. This shift in roles allows you to share advice based on your own experience and support your child as they navigate their own path in life.

Respect personal boundaries

While it is essential to stay connected with your adult child, it is equally important to respect their personal space. Avoid interfering unnecessarily and let them know that you are always there for them when they need you.

Celebrate their success and share in the joyful moments

As a parent, you can make your child feel valued by celebrating their successes and sharing in their joyful moments. Show genuine interest in what they do, their dreams, and ambitions. Provide support and encouragement to positively impact their lives.

Create an open space for meaningful conversations

As your child grows into adulthood, it is crucial to create a safe space where you can have meaningful conversations about sensitive topics such as end-of-life planning or financial matters. This open communication fosters trust and strengthens the bond between parent and child.

Accepting the significant other

It can be challenging for parents to accept that their child has someone else in their life whom they share their journey with. However, as a parent, it is essential to respect and accept your child’s significant other as an important part of their journey towards independence. Be open-minded and hospitable when you meet them and find ways to get to know them better.

Seeing the whole picture

As parents, it is natural to focus on certain aspects of our children’s lives. However, when they become adults, it is crucial to see the big picture and appreciate all parts of their journey – the highlights and challenges, successes and disappointments. By doing so, we can better support them in their identity formation.

With love from South Africa

Despite the geographical distance, the connection between a parent and an emigrant adult child remains strong. Sawubona, meaning “I see you” in Zulu, is a powerful reminder of this bond. By recognizing our children’s humanity and respecting their individuality, we can maintain a meaningful connection with them as they embark on their own unique life paths. So, to all the parents of emigrant adult children out there, sawubona. They see you, they appreciate you, and they love you.

Sulette Ferreira is a migration therapist in private practice. You can contact her at

If you’re looking for financial and tax emigration advice, or looking to transfer money from South Africa, don’t hesitate to contact FinGlobal.

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