No matter how much you adore your grandchildren, raising them presents many challenges as well as rewards.
We grandparents enjoy spending time with our grandchildren without the daily demands of parenting. We may spend the weekend with them, sit with them, play with them, or chat with them online. However, changes in one or both parents' jobs, such as death or divorce, may result in grandparents taking on full or partial responsibility for their grandchildren.
This responsibility may entail a change in lifestyle, freedom, independence, leisure time, or travel ability. Then there is the daily responsibility for the grandchildren's food, clothing, education, etc. And if you had to become a parent due to tragic circumstances, you will have to deal with your own and your grandchildren's grief.
Many interesting experiences, such as sharing their fun and interesting activities or school activities, will be found even with many difficult challenges, such as raising a young child who requires regular feedings. You may also feel fulfilled by providing for your grandchildren's physical and emotional needs.
First, admit your feelings
- Raising grandchildren triggers positive emotions like love, joy, and satisfaction in providing a safe environment for them. But it is hard to identify negative feelings about raising them. It is natural to be conflicted about raising grandchildren. It is critical to acknowledge and accept negative emotions.
- Anxiety: From visiting grandchildren on special occasions to full responsibility for them.
- Anger or resentment toward the grandchild's parents for leaving you in charge of their child.
- Or you may be jealous of your friends who are enjoying their retirement.
- Guilt: about your children's failure to be parents and your sense of responsibility for it.
- Grief: Loss of a life without responsibility, or raising grandchildren because you lost a child.
- Having experience and learning from mistakes gives you more to offer your grandchildren.
Second, Look after yourself.
- Then again, who knows? The physical, emotional, and financial demands can be overwhelming at times, negatively impacting your grandchildren's care.
- Granny health affects grandchild health: You cannot care for your grandchildren unless you care for yourself.
- Prioritize a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep.
- Avoid skipping doctor's appointments or medication.
- Hobbies and rest are not luxuries: Relax to avoid exhaustion and depression. Watching TV is not relaxing. Substitute relaxing activities like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
- Kids are smarter and more capable than we give them credit for. Even young children can help around the house and clean up. Helping will also boost your grandchildren's self-esteem.
- Tell a close friend what you are feeling so you can accept the situation.
- Ignoring negative feelings worsens your relationship with your grandchildren.
- Find others in similar situations and ask for advice from the more experienced. You can also talk to parents who have children the same age as your grandchildren and ask for advice.
- Find a babysitter if you need one. Find places like libraries or sports centers where they can have fun and learn. You might find a neighbor who can watch your kids for a while.
Third, recognize your grandchildren's mixed feelings:
- Moving to a new home is difficult enough without losing one or both parents. Even if children were removed from a harmful environment, their recovery may take time or even specialist intervention.
- Even if they are old enough to understand that it is better for them to be with you, do not take it personally and understand their feelings and struggles with feelings of abandonment.
- Your grandchildren's emotions may manifest as aggressive or inappropriate behaviour, or as withdrawal and pushback.
- Regardless of their actions, your grandchildren need you. It is important to remember that anger can be a result of confusion, mistrust or fear.
- Keep in mind that children express themselves when safe. Their actions may suggest they dislike or respect you, but their actions reflect their sense of security with you.
- initially, your grandchildren's behaviour may be excellent, but over time, it deteriorates. As previously stated, they have begun to feel safe enough to express their feelings.
Fourth, Create a stable environment:
- During their adjustment period, create a predictable and stable environment for your grandchildren. They will feel safer and cope better.
- Establish a daily routine to help them feel more secure. Set meal and bedtime routines, and schedule weekend rituals.
- Let your grandchildren have some say in their lives, like choosing their room's decor. Having some control over their lives makes it easier to cope.
- Establish clear, age-appropriate rules and enforce them consistently. Fear not for your child's safety!
- Create separate rooms or a barrier in the room to separate your grandchildren when they need privacy, or create a place where they can be alone when they need it.
- Show them you care and are available to reassure them. Interact with them in the morning, after school, and before bed.
Fifth, encourage candid communication with you:
- One of the best ways to help your grandchildren adjust is to communicate openly with them. During this difficult time, it is important to discuss their questions, concerns, fears, and feelings.
- Set aside regular family time free of TV, phones, toys, and other distractions.
- Permit your grandchildren to express their emotions, good or bad, without judging, dismissing or minimizing them.
- Understand your grandchildren's emotions. "You look sad, is something bothering you?" you can say if someone is upset.
- Young children express themselves through play, so pay attention to their emotions as they play.
- "I dunno" is perfectly normal. You do not have to answer all. If your grandchildren ask when their mother will return and you do not know, do not lie or evade the question.
What do you tell your kids? Do not overwhelm them with information that they will not understand. Also, do not give them so little information that they feel misled, insecure, and avoid asking questions later. Always tell the truth, and never lie or manipulate facts. Children can tell a lie from the truth.
Sixth, help your kids communicate with their parents:
- Encourage your grandchildren to keep in touch with their parents, especially if their visit is brief. Communication should be encouraged by phone, online video chats, or any other means.
- Do not vent your rage at your grandchildren's parents in front of them, as this causes confusion, stress, and guilt for being with their parents.
- Communicate and cooperate with your grandchildren's parents; share information about their children and their schedule so they know when to communicate with them.
- Make regular or pre-arranged appointments with your grandchildren and their parents.
- Remember that communicating with their parents may cause anxiety or nervousness in your grandchildren, or they may think their parents no longer love them, or they may think they will not find anything to talk about.