by Lisa Henley
Grandparents raising children is a growing trend. Many love to be a parent for the second time, but it can also be physically challenging to keep up with young tikes with the aches and pains of older age.
Regardless, they must still set rules and enforce them to raise responsible adults. To kids, especially those that may not have had a constant authority figure in their lives, these rules may seem harsh, but they will come to know, respect, and abide by them.
Grandparents raising children are encouraged to schedule regular family meetings, as they can be a valuable tool. They are the best way to keep communication flowing openly, especially when they are regularly scheduled and fun. Focus on bonding just as much as you focus on rules.
For example, use these meetings to talk about school, activities coming up in the next week, any unresolved hurts that came up in the last week, and so forth. This is a great and casual way to find out what is going on in everyone’s lives. Of course, that can be easier said than done. Teenagers may be turned off by family meetings since they want more independence to explore life on their own. If that’s the case in your family, consider not having official family meetings, but make sure you still schedule regular quality time together.
If the kids’ parents are in the picture at all, include them at least every now and then so the children feel cared for, without pressuring them to be there every time. After all, there are reasons why they aren’t being full-time caretakers for their children in the first place.
Nonetheless, that can be hard and demoralizing for the kids. So grab every opportunity you can to praise them. With this approach, grandparents raising children have the opportunity to see their grandchildren blossom to their full potential. For example, when the children themselves are able to set fair and reasonable rules, you know their model of the world is a fair one. On the other hand, if the children aren’t cooperative or willing to compromise, you know you’ve got work to do.
Again, family meetings are often the perfect tool to work through the knots over time. They can come in all different shapes and sizes, lasting as little as five minutes or as long as a couple of hours when it’s seriously warranted. So if you are one of the many grandparents raising children these days, you can rest easy that your tall order isn’t too tall to reach with the right tools and some good old-fashioned elbow grease.