aising grandchildren can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but it's also a challenging one.
If you're a grandparent who has adopted your grandchildren, or if you have been appointed legal guardian of your grandchildren due to their parent's inability to care for them, you know what it's like to suddenly have new responsibilities—and a whole new set of emotions.
You may feel excited, nervous, scared, sad, angry, and even guilty at times. You've probably asked yourself:
- "How will I be able to provide for my grandkids?"
- "Can I really make all the decisions?"
- "Am I doing this right?"
The good news is that there are many resources available to help grandparents raise grandchildren.
Here are some tips for getting started:
If you're a grandparent raising grandchildren, it's important to know that you are not alone.
Many resources are available for families who take on this responsibility and help is available to grandparents and biological parents.
The first step in getting the help you need may be as simple as contacting your local social services department or family service center, which can then direct you to programs designed specifically for children in your situation.
Some states have specific state-funded programs for children who live with their grandparents, while others offer only general assistance programs such as housing subsidies, job training, food stamps, and Medicaid benefits for low-income families.
The Department of Health and Human Services offers an online resource called "Grandfamilies" (grandfamilies.gov) that can provide guidance on how each state handles child welfare issues involving grandparents raising grandchildren or other relatives who cannot parent their own children due to substance abuse problems or other reasons.
Remember, children are resilient.
As a grandparent, you will be able to help your grandchildren adjust to their new routines and lives. However, it's important to remember that although children are resilient, they do not forget when life-changing events occur. They may be angry or sad or withdrawn as they adjust to their new circumstances. The best thing you can do is make sure they know that no matter what changes in their lives, they have someone who loves them unconditionally: you!
Consider enrolling your grandchild(ren) in therapy if they're having trouble adjusting after being removed from their biological parent(s)' home due to abuse or neglect allegations made against them (or their parents). You might also want to consider seeking counseling yourself if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by these new responsibilities!
It's essential to keep up a healthy lifestyle and take time for yourself, too.
You can't sacrifice your health, your spouse, or your children for the sake of these children. There's no reason you should feel guilty about having some time for yourself.
Consider joining a support group. You'll hear from people who have been in your shoes and learn how they coped with the challenges of raising their grandchildren. You may also find it helpful to speak with a therapist or counselor who specializes in grandparenting issues.
Grandparents, there are resources and services available to help you raise your grandchild.
Whether you feel that you are ready or not, it is the child's best interest that matters. Keep the child's needs at the top of your list and involve others who can assist you.