Tip Sheet Tuesday: The Changing Role of Caregivers – Grandparents

Raising children is a difficult task, and there’s a reason that people are typically in their 20s and 30s when they have kids. Raising grandchildren (or in other cases nieces, nephews, cousins, and even younger siblings) is an even more challenging undertaking.

A growing number of grandparents who have given years of love, money, time and energy to their first family, find

Grandfather and granddaughter outdoors

themselves giving those same things to their children’s children.

Grandparents returning to the role of primary caregivers find themselves recreating their relationship with their children who cannot raise their own offspring. Conflicting emotions of love and resentment are compounded by grandparents’ new role as the primary caregiver. How do you, as a grandparent, balance support for your adult child with raising the offspring of that same child?

Here are some ideas you might find useful and some resources for helping you make those adjustments. That grandchild is a precious gift, and you also have your own gifts to help you with your new role in their lives.

What can you do to make the adjustment the easiest for you, your spouse, and the child who just entered your home?
Reflect on your past parenting. Think about what you did that made you a good parent. What would you have done differently? How can you apply what you have learned to the way you want to raise this child? You might also want to:

  • Write down your feelings. Then, discuss these memories and ideas with your spouse, and trusted relatives and friends. It helps to make plans for your new role as grandparent.
  • Consider parenting courses. The support and parenting ideas may help you raise this new, young member of your household with more ease and grace, and help you get connected with others.
  • Check out books and DVDs from our resource center or the public library about grandparenting and good parenting ideas.

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