Doing It The Right Way This Time
It's the "Do Over" of Do over's when you are raising your grandchild. You want to do it right or even better this time.
If you are a grandparent, you may remember the 1990's sitcom, "A Different World". The sitcom aired on NBC and was about student life on a college campus. So what was so "different" you ask? The youthful characters on the show had to make major life adjustments. They had to adjust to college. That was the different world. What a change, after all of the love and support experienced at home.
The different world you are experiencing now as one of the millions of grandparents raising grandchildren is not the same kind of different. You've been here before. However, it is different in terms of what you would be experiencing if you were not raising your grandchildren! Your world would be different. Chances are you'd be enjoying:
- Free time
- More money
- More hair on your head - (you would not be pulling it out)
Wait, before you get carried away with the fantasy of what your life would be like if you weren't raising your grandchildren, STOP. You have entered this wondrous world. This different world. A world you may have never imagined you'd be in. You're here and it is going to be OK.
Becoming A Master At Looking At The Bright Side
The best thing about parenting your grandchildren is you probably have child rearing experience. This time you have the wisdom. Most likely you had no clue what you were doing when you raised your children. Not that you did a bad job, but you didn't know what you were doing. Children don't come with manuals, you know.
This guide is here to keep you afloat on your adventure. It is also intended to be a resource for information. We share your hope that you will do an awesome job raising your grandchild or grandchildren. You need all the help you can get. Always look on the bright side.
This Shouldn't Be A Solo Project
You will find great resources for your situation on the internet. It is because there are so many people in your situation. According to Census.gov, in 2019 there were 7 million grandparents living with their grandchild(ren).
There is no pause for the cause of educating yourself on how to raise your grandchildren. Though you may have experience raising children, you still have to figure it out as you go. In the event that you're having problems, look to a support group. You don't have to do this by yourself. Here's another tip - support groups are great even if you are not having problems raising your grandchildren! It's good to have a group of people to turn to, to vent with and to rely upon.
Support groups were called something different back in the day. Support groups were called chatting over coffee. Now they have such a thing as a support group. Please click this link to see our deep dive on single parent support groups. There is a wealth of information there.
If you are single and raising your grandchild or grandchildren, these groups will help out a lot. There are just some things that single people have to deal with that married people do not. That goes for single grandparents raising grandchildren as well.
However, there are particular support groups that cater to grandparents raising grandchildren. These groups are specific to your area. Once you find a support group where you live, the door to great communication and assistance will be open to you. The resources below give you a starting point. Some support groups meet online and others meet in person. However, you have to find the right combination to meet your needs.
According to AAA MFT or the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, there are online resources for grandparents raising grandchildren such as:
- Generations United - various information for grandparents raising grandchildren from A-to-Z.
- Grandfamilies.org – this resource has legal assistance information as well as policy information
- AARP Grand families Guide – can get you in touch with professionals to help you learn how to cope
- AARP Grand family Resources – another great guide with educational, childcare, special needs, therapy, and other information to help you be the best grandparent you can be
- Raisingyourgrandchildren.com – is an online resource that can give you even more information on this special situation
Another Word On Wisdom
It can't be emphasized enough. You have learned something if you raise children. And since you're raising your grandchildren now, obviously you raised your children successfully to the point where they had children of their own.
With anything, there's always room for improvement. Even if you did a stellar job of raising your children and now they are not raising their children because they are on the current space shuttle - you can improve. We're making it light, however, use the wisdom that you've gained. Apply it to how you are raising your grandchild or your grandchildren. You're never too old to learn. You can improve upon what you did with your own children.
Take Advantage Of The New Technology
No one sits down and says "I want to raise my grandchildren ". We will not go into all of the different reasons this may have occurred. There are thousands of reasons and each one with their own little nuances that landed you in this situation. Generally, this is something that occurred due to unforeseen circumstances. The fact is that you are here. If you’re reading this than it matters to you and you want to make the best of it.
There Will Be A Whole Lot of Chatting Going On
A lot of technology was not available when you were raising your child. One technological advance that probably wasn't around your 1st go around was cell phones. Now you need a cell phone and most likely your grandchild or your grandchildren do too. This can be very expensive! Take advantage of the low-cost programs through EASY Wireless. Did you know you could probably get a free SIM card to pop into your smartphone?? Learn about how to do this as well as receive other low-cost programming advantages at their website. Through the Affordable Connectivity Program or ACP, you can qualify for many free or low-cost programming options. If you receive any of the following benefits, you will most likely qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program, as well:
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Pell Grant Awards
- Women, Infant, and Children (WIC)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
More Reasons Cellphones Need To Be On Your Must Have List
My Creative Creature Comfort
Cellphones are not just for talking. They help with so many things now:
- As listed above, finding a great support group to help you and your grandchild or grandchildren
- Taking selfies and other cute pics
- Communicating with your grandchildren's teacher
- Communicating with your grandchildren's doctor
- Communicating with your grandchildren's dentist
- Communicating with your grandchildren's therapist
- Communicating with your grandchildren's natural family and natural parents
- Communicating with your grandchildren!
- Downloading apps that can help your grandchildren with homework, socialization or anything under the sun!
- Downloading the same apps for you! You need a social life too.
- The bottom line is the use of cell phone technology is evolving every day. There is no limit to what your creative creature comfort aka - a cell phone can do!
What Problems You Can Expect With Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
We don't have to tell you, you already know! There will be problems along the way. There's a great website for discovering happiness. It is called AHA!NOW. Though there will be more problems than we can ever name in this guide, here are the eight major categories defined by AHA!NOW:
- Educational issues – you may be trying to go to school. You waited your whole life and now you have to raise your grandchild. Now you have to deal with their science projects and their homework assignments. Educational concerns can run the gamut from should you homeschool your grandchild? - to how to pay for their college!
- Legal Issues – you may be in family court at this moment trying to gain full custody of your grandchild. Legal issues can be a problem. Getting the right legal help is as easy as contacting your local Bar Association. Most likely, you can receive help free of charge depending upon your income level.
- Problems with housing – you just settled into your one-bedroom apartment and bam - here come the grandkids. This time they're not going back home. This time you have to get a bigger home to accommodate them. Where is the money going to come from? This and other housing dilemmas can come up. Getting resources through your government assistance programs will help. Making certain that you have legal jurisdiction over your grandchildren can open up financial resources to help accommodate the growing family.
- New family problems – these can be complex. Face family drama with open communication, which we discuss here in the guide below. Get professional support if necessary with family problems. We don't have to tell you family drama can be anything from your new spouse not wanting to raise your grandchildren to your grandchild's other grandparents fighting for custody. Face family problems honestly and openly. Don't create drama where it doesn't have to be.
- Social stressors - your canasta club can't meet because you have to take a grandchild in for an open house at the school. Your social life is going to change. You may not have time to hang out with your friends. You may not have time to start dating that cute guy you met at your physical therapy appointment. Social isolation can occur if you don't keep an eye on it. Having great communication with your low-cost or free EASY Wireless cell phone can help. Don't be isolated. Stay out there. Stay active.
- Mental health challenges – you and your grandchild will be affected emotionally and mentally by this arrangement Seek therapeutic help from a professional or get involved with a support group which we discussed earlier. Make sure your grandchildren are getting the mental health treatment they need. Talking it over with the guidance counselor or a therapist will not hurt. Make sure that all your bases are covered with your mental health for you and your family
- Health problems – we will discuss this in greater detail later on in the guide you have to take care of your health. We have to be there for yourself. You have to be there for your family.
- Money problems – what else is new? If you're like most people, you've been having money problems most of your life. Now there are more mouths to feed. Take advantage of government programs to help. SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) can help if you qualify. Government assistance is there for a particular situation like this. Contact your local agency to see what benefits you qualify for
The Importance Of Self Care As A Grandparent Raising A Grandchild
When we say self-care, we mean care of your mind, body and soul. You already know our take on getting mental health treatment. Don't let the stigma attached to seeking a therapist stop you from getting one. We have a great guide for senior citizens and their health. Follow this link to go way down and under to find out how to take care of your health. This guide is fantastic. It has information on insurance as well a comprehensive breakdown of Medicaid and Medicare.
It's Not A Joke
Your health is a primary concern and you're stressing it by raising your grandchildren. Again, there's a reason people raise children when they are younger. You are better able to do the job. Running around, staying up when your grand baby has a fever, you are just not as able to physically do these things. That's why self-care is so important. Stay up to date with physical and screenings. You can't afford to become ill.
Do something to relieve the extra emotional stress. Without an outlet, it will age you more than time! Find a great meditation class or a yoga studio to attend. Some of these activities can be done with your grandchildren. Make it a family affair. Just make certain you take care of your health by practicing self-care.
The Fact Is, Kids Are Germy!
Being on top of your flu shots and other important vaccinations are critical. Grandchildren carry a multitude of germs. It's just natural. They're around other children and there's always a runny nose or a hacking cough somewhere in the mix. Your compromised immune system, due to your age is a reality. You just don't fight off germs as well as you used to. Keep your immune system at optimal levels by taking physician-approved supplements. Get your rest at night and keep your strength up!
Single Grandparent Challenges Raising Grandchildren
Your challenges are doubled as a single grandparent raising grandchildren. You don't have the assistance of a partner. However, that doesn't mean that the job you do has to be diminished. You can do a tremendous job as a single parent raising grandchildren. Take advantage of the resources available to you as a single grandparent raising grandchildren. The challenges are more difficult if you're single. If you're single and raising your grandchildren, it's important to stay connected to your community. We cannot stress this enough. You are not alone. This is one thing you don't want to do solo. It will be detrimental to you and your family. The resources are there to give you energy where you need it.
We have written a great collective of guides for single parenting that you should take advantage of. Click the links to find out about:
- Single parent dating
- Single parent health insurance
- Single parent budgeting
- Government programs for single parents
- Taking care of a disabled child as a single parent
The resources you'll find there will be extremely helpful. While you're doing this single parent thing for your grandchild, you're also a senior citizen. Take a look at our guides for senior citizens, which include:
- Healthcare for senior citizens
- Continuing education for senior citizens
- Socialization for senior citizens
- Different living options for senior citizens
- Issues with family life for senior citizens
Generational Differences And The Grand family
Understand that different generations have different ways of thinking and approaches. According to forbes.com children born between the year 2010 and up until the year 2025 are part of generation "Alpha". They're also called "mini-millennials". This generation is going to have different viewpoints than your generation. Don't let the generational differences between you and your grandchild bother you. Use each discussion as an opportunity learn from each other.
The outside world will always try to affect and influence how you raise your grandchildren.
- Social media
- Their natural family
- Your grandchild's parents
Just any and everything will try to influence your Alpha generation grandchild. Don't let their influence stop you. Be the best grandparent and let your grandchild know who you are. Let them know what your influences were. Let them know the wisdom that you've gained over the years. Let it color the way you raise them.
It's not coincidental that they are with you. It happened for a reason. Take advantage of the opportunity. Teach them the values of your generation. Give them chores. Set up healthy boundaries.
It's Important That You Make The Effort To Understand Them
Have a weekly family talk. Let them tell you what they've gone through during the week at school. Of course, this is an age-appropriate activity. Once they are school-age it's a great time to set this up.
Be A Part Of The Fun
Be open to looking at a TikTok clip on your EASY Wireless phone. As we age, we sometimes close ourselves off from new technology and new things. In this case, we are the ones that are missing out. By being open and flexible and trying to be a part of their life in this way, you will show them how parenting is done.
Your grandchildren will appreciate the effort to understand them and relate. It may make them more receptive to your advice and your parenting. They see the effort that you're making to reach them. Maybe they will make an effort to reach up to you. One great generational gap bridge is the cell phone. No matter how you feel about them, they are necessary and they are creative, convenient, comfort creatures. The flat tire out in the middle of nowhere has no better answer than a cell phone that can connect you to help. The list of its advantages is endless.
In fact, the Wil Group.net says that "embedding technology that drives collaboration is a way to overcome generational differences". What that means is - use technology to work with your grandchildren. Jump on FaceTime when their parent reaches out. This shows that you're working with your grandchild and the family to be a cooperative unit. Collaboration includes people outside of your family as well. Getting together with teachers using technology can help bridge the generational gap. Get the homework help you need using a cell phone. The teacher will appreciate your effort and so will your grandchild. You get two bonuses with this situation. You help your grandchild with their homework. You also bridge the generational gap by using new technology.
The Wil Group goes on to state that the best way to overcome generational differences is by working together. This shows how people from different generations can get the job done.
Problems Are To Be Solved
Generational differences are just one of many problems that you will face as a grandparent raising grandchildren.
Uncooperative Parents - Yes It's A Thing!
Can you imagine that you're raising someone's children and they're not cooperating!
They don't see the sacrifice that you've made to take care of their children. In fact, they may want to raise their children from afar. They may be trying to tell you how to raise their children and tell you that you are not doing a good job.
Seeking counseling will help you and your family cope with an uncooperative parent. There's no reason to think that these parents will not be a part of the picture. Maybe they are not able to raise the children. However, it is better for your grandchildren if their natural parents are involved. Of course, in some cases, due to their limited capacity, the involvement may be minimal. Whatever the involvement - encourage it - as long as it's healthy It will benefit your grandchildren. Put your pride aside and encourage and support natural parent involvement. THIS IS ANOTHER PLACE WHERE YOUR GREAT HARD-EARNED WISDOM WILL COME THROUGH FOR YOU. Again, get help from:
- A support group
- Social workers at your grandchildren's school
- A therapist
- Health professionals through your health insurance
- At your place of worship
Wherever you can get help that is sound and beneficial, by all means get it. Take advantage of our guides on families for the elderly. Follow this link to access it.
Raising children in difficult settings is risky. Of course, you can do a phenomenal job and your grandchildren will be unaffected by the limited presence or complete absence of their natural parents. However, most likely that will not be the case. There is no way to know. It is not worth the risk to willingly have their family and their parents not be involved. It is more important for the child to have any involvement with their natural parents and their natural family.
Try To Understand Where The Lack Of Communication Is Coming From
Keep communicating - You may be the only stability your grandchild has. You may be the only stability your grandchild's parent has. Even if chaos is all around, keep communicating. Remain civil. It will be a great example for your grandchildren to follow.
Your Grandchild Is One Fortunate Being
Equip them with everything they need. Find out about the great programs at EASY Wireless. There's no reason to do without, when you can get low-cost cell phone packages for your family. Your grandchild is fortunate! They have you! Who knows where they would be if they didn't have you! Keep striving to be the very best person you can be. Keep striving to be the very best grandparent you can be. You're making a difference. You're paying it forward. This grandchild will carry on the great things you teach him or her. They will carry on your warmth, your love, and your attention. Make it a win- win situation. Who knows, you may be raising the next President of the United States. It's worth it. You're worth it. They are worth it.