My Quest To Teach

July 8, 2012

Divorced Fathers Use Tech Too Connect

Filed under: Uncategorized — William Jackson @ 1:39 pm

Divorced Fathers Use Tech Too Connect

Fathering is a balance of love, negotiation, trust,
setting high expectations and communication.
What better way to stay connected than to text
with your children. Fathers must be hyped to
use technology to stay connected to their
children with the integration of technology
in their lives.

I’m a divorced father over 15 years, it has
not been an easy journey. Communication
is the key to keeping a relationship close from
the challenges of divorce and separation.
Military families have embraced technology
because of long deployments and long distances
by parents in the service of their country.

So the use to texting and other Social
Media tools is important. I was not always
able to drive to see my kids that live over
an hour away once their mother and I divorced.
My intent was to live as close as possible,
but the responsibilities and realities of
employment, finances and my personal/
professional growth required me to move
further away.

Travels and Distances
At one time I lived in Kingsland, Georgia
before moving back to Jacksonville, so
I would drive after work on Fridays over
an hour to pick my kids up that live in
Palatka, Florida and drive almost
two (2) hours to bring them home with me.
Sunday after church to take them home
it was another two hours then back for me.
The travel distance was a time for catching
up and reflection on the weeks that passed
between us. Allowing us the time to adjust
to each other again.

This travel time was sometimes tense
because as many fathers know we have
to wean through some of the drama of
Baby Mama Drama. To dissolve the negative
energy that may come with divorce.
Talking is important when you have the
F2F – Face Fathers must take advantage of
all resources available to keep the lines
of communication open and consistent.

In this age of many types of technology,
communication should not stop. It can
grow because of Texting, Facebook,
Twitter and other Social Media tools right
through wireless devices like cell phones.
Tech Savvy Daddy: Connecting via Text
Children and Teens have cell phones for
safety, there is a connection that can
be used. I purchased my kids first
cell phones when they were in Middle School.

I got them pre-paid to teach them
responsibility and time management
using them. This also was not a financial
burden to me and taught us how to manage
time, minutes and importantly money. Their
mother at first did not agree to them
having a cell phone, but once I pointed out
that it was for their safety and our mental
stability and not for me to spy on her, she
was more agreeable. Especially when several
kids were almost kidnapped in Palatka.
What saved them was the fact that they called
911 for help and were not hurt.

Statistics and Data
Statistics show that 75% of teenagers prefer
texting to actual voice. Speaking to my kids
they agree. They would rather text so
they can multi-task and not let their
friends know they are talking to their father.
It was not keeping me secrete, but teens have
a sense of pride and privacy even with their
friends. Ironically that is true, I have more
conversations through texting than voice.
We share pictures through Instagram, share
where we are on Foursquare and interact
on Facebook. This is a win-win situation
because we can “see” what each is doing.
If I do not approve of their content I can
exert fatherly advice, not in a demeaning
way, as guidance and reinforcement.

Cell Phones and Accidents
The power of cell phones did pay off when my
son was in a car accident and he texted to ask
what he had to do. Overcoming my brief panic
I texted was he ok and with a positive reply
I called and we went through what he should do.

This interaction allowed him to contact law
enforcement, take pictures for insurance purposes,
keep in contact with me as I drove to him. The
ironic aspect to this is that he could not contact
his mother by voice, since she was at work and
did not text. Even though I was at work texting
kept us connected. Children may not admit it, but
when you tell them ”have a great day,” “good
luck on your tests,” ”buckle up when you drive”
and even the occasional “I love you” they receive
that better than hearing you tell them. The beauty
is that texting is always there for them to see
and reflect on later.

A New Language
Fathers, learn to “speak the language” of your
children. The new language today is digital.
If you notice the dialogue is short, direct and
to the point.
Texting is a great opportunity to span distances
and keep lines of communication open. Allows
for more intimate tool when sharing your personal
expectations for behaviors of your children.
Fathers should be involved and have their
children “teach” them how to use it as a better
way to connect, provide advice and not allow
distances and time keep a separation between
father and children.
At the recent SSTESOL Sunshine State Teachers
of English Speakers of other Languages conference
that I presented, our discussion on Social Media,
this conference supported teachers that teach
foreign language students English. Even foreign
students use technology to span
distances and communicate with their parents and friends.

The Youtube video “Digital Natives” shows that youth
have made the transition from Face to Face (F2F)
communication to totally virtual. Fathers embrace
the use of technology and don’t be scared to ask
your kids to teach you how to use it and take
advantage of all the capabilities, this allows for
more bonding, personal and digital connections.
Don’t allow divorce, separation or
other life challenges keeping you from communicating
with your children. There is always a way, but
the will has to be there to. Take it from my
experience and integrate technology whenever
you can to communicate with your children.
It will payoff as they mature. Dad will
always be there even if it is just a Text, F
acebook, Tweet or Instagram away.

William Jackson
@wmjackson Twitter
http://WilliamDJackson.com/ Web

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2 Comments

  1. Excellent post, William. I will refer others to this post. The strength of your gentleness reverberates through this post. Your children are blessed to have you as their dad. Happy Fathers’ Day EVERY day, William!

    Like

    Comment by Wendy Clarissa Geiger — July 8, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

    • Thank you Wendy for those kind words. My personal kids and the kids at my school show me how important fathers are. That it is vital that fathers stay active and involved. I appreciate your post and thanks for sharing.

      Like

      Comment by William Jackson — July 9, 2012 @ 1:39 pm


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