The current situation

The global pandemic of COVID-19 between 2019 and 2021 has long-lasting impact on peopel’s livelihoods, mental and physical health around the world. It has been 3 years since the writer has seen her parents in person. Although most of the countries have lifted the travel ban, the challenges faced by family members who do not reside in the same country to meet each other face to face remain. This is not only because of the safety concerns but also the higher travel expenses compared with the travel expenses before the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is a reality that, many families have no option but to live separately from each other even without the hinderance of the pandemic.  For example, children move away from their family for college or get married and relocate to a different place; couples separate and end up living far part from each other and separately from their children, or even when the children may live with one parent because of the other parent’s work schedules. Older children may be able to use their smart phones to keep in touch with long-distance family members, but for younger children, the parents or grandparents will need to facilitate the video/audio calls for the long-distance family member to reduce the feeling of being alienated from their children.

Shortening distance plays an essential role in maintaining family relationships. It could be a bittersweet situation when the family members have to live far away from one another.

Why it is important for families to stay connected

A research in 2016 conducted by George L.K. indicates that a healthy family dynamic will have significantly positive effects on the family members’ psychological well-being. In his research essay, a module for family dynamics and mental health have been created and the figures illustrate that for families who support each other emotionally and economically, the overall health of the family members are increased. While for families suffer from stress and anxiety, the figures show that the overall health of the family members are negatively impacted. It was also discovered that a happily connected family environment reduces the possibility for family members to have chronic diseases as well as mental illnesses. Besides, the life expectancy also increases in families who have a closer social bond with each other.

Another research conducted by Shelly L. Gable and Christopher Bromberg also came to a similar conclusion that it is essential for individuals to interact positively with each other to thrive. They emphasised that a strong and healthy family relationship contributes greatly to the mental and physical health of individuals, proving the positive link between well-being and interpersonal relationships is beneficial to all family members.

For separated families who are experiencing long-distance family relationships, it would be wise for both parents to take the responsibility to look after the children and be actively involved in raising the children. It is beneficial for the children’s development if they feel the love from both parents. If there is a parenting plan in place, it is significant for the children to have a sense of formality and follow the routine to reduce disappointment and frustration arising from the long-distance family relationship.

Actionable tips for healthy family relationships 

Needless to say, family members who experience long-distance relationships want to feel that they are included. We understand that there are various reasons for the loved ones to be apart physically, although they are close emotionally. This can be extremely frustrating because you are not able to share your life with the loved ones during the limited lifetime that one has. Regardless of the reason why they are separated, your ability to stay connected with your family member should not be affected by distance.

Some of the ways to keep your family bond strong and healthy may include:

  • Initiating regular video/audio calls
  • Listening to each other actively
  • Keeping records of special dates
  • Preparing surprises such as sending flowers
  • Finding some online games suitable for the family to participate in
  • Joining some family relationship programs
  • Getting together in person more often if it is possible

Don’t forget that for some families, the grandparents also play a substantial role in developing and preserving a tight family bond. Research by Professor Ann Buchanan emphasised that in families where grandparents have a higher level of involvement, there could be a reduction of  emotional and behavioural problems in the children. We witnessed many children who are excluded from maintaining a family relationship with their grandparents not by choice but by their parent(s)’ forceful intervention. Grandparents can be a positive contributor to improving the welfare of the children.

What if the relationship does not work anymore?

Even if every possible attempt has been made to keep the family together, the family relationship may still come to an inevitable break down. Let our experienced family lawyers, as well as our professional Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner guide you through this very difficult phase of your life.  A relationship breakdown does not necessarily have to be the end of everything, and it does not have to be ugly.

Contact us and Seek help now

Our Principal Ellen Pei devotes herself to Family Dispute Resolution. She worked with hundreds of families from all around the world to expeditiously resolve their unique family disputes and family law matters and helped countless families reach a most desired outcome for all the parties involved. Do not suffer in silence by yourself but instead, stay connected and reach out to our family law team and/or speak to our Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner on 1300 559 888  for our exceptional services now.