At this stage of your life, you envisioned yourself exchanging a time clock for a tee time, having a spotless home to relax and entertain in, and taking a well deserved break from the years of raising a family and earning a living. Instead, you find yourself back at square one: homework, soccer practice, discipline, early mornings and late nights.
You may be one of the millions of grandparents who, because of some unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, are now raising their grandchildren. There’s no question this configuration is often emotionally wrenching for both grandparents and grandchildren. But for a lot of the grandchildren involved, you may be their only hope.
Raising your grandchildren may be far more than a solution to a crisis; it might be your calling.
Here are a few tips for raising your grandchildren with the power of God’s grace:
- Deal with your disappointment. Get in a grandparent’s support group. You would be surprised at how many other grandparents are going through the same thing you are. (Our DVD study, Extreme Grandparenting is a great tool and resource for gathering a group together in your church or neighborhood)
- Make your grandchildren feel as if they are in their permanent home not just visiting. The more welcome they feel in your home, the more at ease they will feel with you and this new arrangement.
- Hold the parents of your grandchildren accountable for whatever financial and time contribution they are capable of making.
- Don’t allow things to get off to a poor start by not setting boundaries and expectations.
- Investigate all public assistance programs and don’t be too proud to access them.
- Ask other family members to pitch in (siblings, aunts, uncles, other grandparents). No need to play the martyr.
- Don’t feel guilty if you can’t provide the optimum care and environment for this grandchild. Do what you can with God’s help and the help of others.
- Make sure your marriage, your relationships with your other children and grandchildren, and your friends aren’t completely neglected because of your added responsibilities. Consider all of these people part of your resources and support system.
- Get others praying for you. Consider joining a Moms In Touch group in your area or you may even find or start a Grandmothers In Touch group. Go to www.momsintouch.org for more information.
There’s good news coming from the efforts of the many grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. These grandparents are doing some of the best parenting being done today. These seasoned veterans have taken lemons and made lemonade as they have allowed God to take a Plan B and turn it into a Plan Best for their precious grandchildren.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40: 29-31
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