In today’s complex world, the phenomenon of grandparents raising grandchildren has become increasingly common. Some grandparents find themselves taking on the role full time, after the tragic loss of one of their adult children. Others agree to look after their grandkids temporarily, while their own adult children are out of the country or going through a difficult situation.
You might think that these scenarios are rare, but, this is definitely not the case. In fact, according to AARP, 4.9-million grandparents in the U.S. are the primary caretakers for their grandkids. These men and women have to deal with a range of issues, both practical and emotional.
For starters, they may worry about how they will deal financially with having a larger family at a time when they expected to be downsizing. They may also struggle with the difficult emotions of anger and fear.
In the Sixty and Me community, we have thousands of women who are looking after their grandkids part time or full time. So, we are in a great position to support each other. Let’s get a conversation started!
What advice would you like to get from the other grandmas in the community who are raising their grandkids? What recommendations would you give to a grandmother who just found out that she is going to have to look after her grandkids?
Please add your thoughts in the comments section at the end of this article.
We received some amazing feedback to this very personal question. On the positive side, most women said that raising their grandkids has allowed them to develop a special bond that they would not trade for anything in the world. Perhaps this is why the most common advice from the women in our community is simply to “enjoy every precious moment.”
Beyond this, the women in our community also offered some specific advice for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. Many women advised showing unconditional love and nurturing self-confidence. Other commented on the importance of setting ground rules and a routine. Along the same lines, minimizing screen time and eating meals together were popular recommendations.
Several women in the community reminded us of the importance of knowing your rights as a grandparent. They encouraged us to understand our legal rights and make sure that we are taking advantage of any financial assistance that may be available.
Of course, raising one or more of your grandkids is not without challenges. Many of the women in our community said that raising a grandchild requires you to surrender a certain amount of freedom. Their advice was to embrace the situation rather than fight it. They encouraged us to relax, laugh, and share stories.
The responses that we received to this question were quite detailed, so, I highly encourage you to read through them. If you have any additional advice for the women in our community, please add it below.