By Stephanie Davies
Grandparents have raised their own children, worked hard throughout their lives, survived many hardships and have more than earned the right to relax in a golden glow of retirement. However there is an increasing trend of grandparents becoming parents again, raising their children’s children, or in some cases, even their great-grandchildren. In fact, there are currently 4.5 million children being raised by grandparents in the United States alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is more children being raised by grandparents than there are children in the entire foster care system.
Whether due to financial problems, lack of stability, non-interest, or other problems on behalf of the parents, many grandparents find themselves in the unique position of raising small children in the golden years of their lives. This can prove to bring its own set of unique challenges and rewards, some more unexpected than others.
Some grandparents may feel embarrassed or hesitant to seek custody of their grandchildren in court, not wanting to go up against their own children legally. It is never an easy situation, and even though the parents of the child are seldom around, the grandparents may not wish to cause further trouble in an already troubled situation. For this reason, some grandparents may even be raising their grandchildren without full or even temporary custody rights.
Many times, this situation is unexpected and unplanned, leading to financial difficulties as well as frustration and anxiety. Many second-time parents are on a limited income or social security, which makes the situation more difficult, as there is also a tendency to want to overspend on your grandchildren. Be sure that you have a proper budget planned out and that you don’t overspend in unnecessary areas such as toys, games and activities.
Another important part of being a second-time parent is to make certain that you have a solid support system behind you. In many towns, there are special support group meetings especially for your situation. There are also many different resources available on the internet. A few of these are:
On the surface, being a grandparent raising a grandchild isn’t very much different from being a parent the first time. As with your own children, being a parent the second time requires love and caring, a firm attitude and nearly endless patience. However, raising children for the second (or third) time can also be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life.
A firm hand and discipline are also a necessity when it comes to raising grandchildren. Too many grandparents are more lenient on their grandchildren, either because the feel badly about the situation that the grandchild is in, or because they wish to correct mistakes they made with their own children. It is important to remember that all children need guidance and discipline, and that if you approach it from the standpoint of providing the best care possible, which includes being firm yet loving, you will be not only making the child’s life better but your own life easier.
It is also important to take some time to relax and enjoy the time you have with your grandchildren. Especially since most grandparents do not have a full-time job as they had with their own children, you now have plenty of time to have fun with and spend time with, your grandchildren. You are now free to enjoy spending time with them, listening to them, and helping them with homework, problem-solving, reading, or other activities.
But it is also important to realize that even grandparents need a break at times. Be sure to take time for yourself each day, away from the child/children, even if it is just a warm bath at the end of the day, or a book before bed. Make sure you have time to relax and unwind from the stresses of the day, and you may even need a few days vacation every now and then. If possible, see if there is someone trustworthy and reliable you can leave the grandchildren with for a day or two every once in a while for you to be able to re-energize and relax.
If you take things in stride, and have fun spending time with and caring for your grandchildren, you will find that being a second-time parent can be immensely enjoyable, and not just a stressful situation.
Stephanie Davies is a work at home mom to a 9 year old boy in Mid-Missouri. Her hosting company, Hosting WAHMs at http://www.hostingwahms.com offers premium webhosting from $2 per month and up, with an easy to use sitebuilder! She also offers writing services through her website as well.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Making it Work
By Jamie Rona
If you are a lot like my own grandmother who was left with three grandchildren to raise by herself, then I salute you. Grandparents raising grandchildren have become quite common these days. If you must know, there are over two million of you wonderful grandmas and grandpas out there who are doing a very good job in raising todays generation of kids which can be both trying and tiring. But, as my own grandmother pointed out, she would rather take care of her own grandchildren herself rather than leave us to the care of nannies who are technically, complete strangers.
Read below for some helpful tips for grandparents raising grandchildren these days. And remember, you are doing a great job at it:
It is important that you legally establish your status to your grandchildren. Most seek the advice of lawyers to find out if establishing yourself as your grandchilds legal guardian would be best.
Since you would be raising your grandchild, make sure that you have your financial status evaluated. The Internal Revenue Service can even make arrangements so that you and your grandchild can be qualified for Federal grants or tax deduction programs to give you financial support.
Is your home grandchild friendly? Make it a point to have a room or place in the house especially reserved for your grandchild.
Make an appointment with the schools in your area where you would enroll your grandchild. Be sure to explain to the teachers and officers the familys situation so they would be prepared to adjust according to what your grandchild would need.
Make sure that you are aware of your grandchilds medical history.
Take care of yourself. This new generation of children can a exhausting. And you can see the difference on the physical demands of children today compared to your own kids needs thirty years earlier. If you plan to keep up, make sure you are healthy and you have a lot of energy.
Stay strong. Not only in the physical sense but also emotionally and mentally. Always keep in mind that your grandchildren rely on you and need you. Take care of them, be involved in their activities in school, know who their friends are, and take active part in their lives.
Grandparents raising grandchildren have become all too common these days. It is important that both grandparents and grandchildren maintain a friendly and loving relationship between each other. Make memories with your grandkids and let them know they are a blessing, not a burden.
Jamie is a mother of three who enjoys fitness and the great outdoors. She is a self-employed journalist who spends her time learning about parenting and family relationships for her reports. As an authority in parenting, Jamie teaches classes in her community. In addition to writing, Jamie loves spending time with her family and their two dogs.
Jamie is a busy mother and teacher who likes exercise and the outdoors. She loves to make healthy smoothies and other treats for her family. She enjoys the convenience of her cordless blender. In addition to writing, Jamie loves spending time with her family and their two dogs.