October 23, 2010
The phrase “If I could do it all again” is a common one among parents of grown children. Some wouldn’t change a thing, while others feel that their new experiences since then have given them a new perspective on parenting that would lead to new decisions. When a grandparent becomes responsible for raising their grandchild, differences occur regardless of intent, however.For one thing, grandparents must contend with their own aging while raising grandchildren. Many people age differently, and some will have the same energy they did 20 years ago, while others will face more difficulties. Either way, bringing a young child into the house can be exhausting for the best of grandparents.Financial changes can also add a new wrinkle to the experience. Many grandparents have retired and are living on a fixed income or pension. This is one reason that many grandparents run into financial difficulties. Luckily, there are other programs to helpsee the “Tax Credits” page for more information. We will focus on this more in upcoming articles.Grandparents must also find a way to work out the birth parent’s relationship to the child, or to explain if the parent is no longer around. Extreme cases (like Jack Nicholson, who believed that his grandparents were his parents until he was 37) are probably not the right way to go. You should decide how much honesty is appropriate at what age, though, and respond accordingly. It will definitely be a new experience raising a child as a grandparent, but it can be just as rewarding and fulfilling as the first time.