Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Grandparents Parenting Their Grandchildren

Parenting your grandchildren is not like parenting your own children. It is a much more difficult task. In the United States it is estimated that there are more than 3.9 million households of grandparents parenting their grandchildren. There are many reasons why grandparents may need to act in the capacity of parent to their grandchildren. In some cases, the parents may have died, have mental disorders, substance abuse, be incarcerated or have abandoned their children.

And because of many of those reasons, grandparents may be feeling their own sense of failure, guilt and embarrassment. What would already be a difficult job because of the loss to the grandchildren that they must deal with, there may be the additional burden of trying to help their own children, they may have to deal with an alienation of their own child or they may be suffering through the loss of that child.

The grandchildren will definitely be feeling loss and possibly abandonment. They may also have suffered abuse or neglect and are likely to feel insecure and angry. They could have had prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol or may have psychological or physical problems because of earlier experiences.

It will be the grandparents responsibility to make their grandchildren feel safe and secure, to give them stability and a regular routine, to communicate with them, have rules, set limits and establish boundaries. These grandparents will also have to try and be positive, keep children active, show compassion, give guidance and unconditional love.

Grandparents can offer experience and perspective and show family continuity to their grandchildren. They can motivate, nurture and show affection. In the parent role, it will be important to take photos and keep records of their grandchildren's progress to let them know how important they are to them.

It is equally important that as grandparents who are parenting at a time when they had not expected to do so, that they take care of themselves and maintain their own health. It will be important also to have someone to talk to who can help when the stress of parenting becomes overwhelming.

There could possibly be legal issues to deal with besides day-to-day care such as custody or legal guardianship. This may be even more difficult if the parent has a mental problem or a substance abuse issue. There will be extra expenses for diapers, formula, car seats, cribs, besides the clothes and extra food involved in raising a family. There may physical disabilities that require wheelchairs or other expenses as well.

The financial obligation can be overwhelming for most at a time when they may be at their lowest income level. It is estimated that sixteen percent of those grandparents raising grandchildren live below the poverty level.

Kudos to those grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. It is not an easy task but they do it because they love their grandchildren.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sylvia_Behnish

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