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Grandparents Parenting the Second Time Around

Aug 17, 2007
Grandparents have raised their own children, worked hard throughout their lives, survived many hardships and have more than earned the right to relax in a golden glow of retirement. However there is an increasing trend of grandparents becoming parents again, raising their children's children, or in some cases, even their great-grandchildren. In fact, there are currently 4.5 million children being raised by grandparents in the United States alone, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That is more children being raised by grandparents than there are children in the entire foster care system.

Whether due to financial problems, lack of stability, non-interest, or other problems on behalf of the parents, many grandparents find themselves in the unique position of raising small children in the golden years of their lives. This can prove to bring its own set of unique challenges and rewards, some more unexpected than others.

Some grandparents may feel embarrassed or hesitant to seek custody of their grandchildren in court, not wanting to go up against their own children legally. It is never an easy situation, and even though the parents of the child are seldom around, the grandparents may not wish to cause further trouble in an already troubled situation. For this reason, some grandparents may even be raising their grandchildren without full or even temporary custody rights.

Many times, this situation is unexpected and unplanned, leading to financial difficulties as well as frustration and anxiety. Many second-time parents are on a limited income or social security, which makes the situation more difficult, as there is also a tendency to want to overspend on your grandchildren. Be sure that you have a proper budget planned out and that you don't overspend in unnecessary areas such as toys, games and activities.

Another important part of being a second-time parent is to make certain that you have a solid support system behind you. In many towns, there are special support group meetings especially for your situation. There are also many different resources available on the internet. A few of these are:


On the surface, being a grandparent raising a grandchild isn't very much different from being a parent the first time. As with your own children, being a parent the second time requires love and caring, a firm attitude and nearly endless patience. However, raising children for the second (or third) time can also be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life.

A firm hand and discipline are also a necessity when it comes to raising grandchildren. Too many grandparents are more lenient on their grandchildren, either because the feel badly about the situation that the grandchild is in, or because they wish to correct mistakes they made with their own children. It is important to remember that all children need guidance and discipline, and that if you approach it from the standpoint of providing the best care possible, which includes being firm yet loving, you will be not only making the child's life better but your own life easier.

It is also important to take some time to relax and enjoy the time you have with your grandchildren. Especially since most grandparents do not have a full-time job as they had with their own children, you now have plenty of time to have fun with and spend time with, your grandchildren. You are now free to enjoy spending time with them, listening to them, and helping them with homework, problem-solving, reading, or other activities.

But it is also important to realize that even grandparents need a break at times. Be sure to take time for yourself each day, away from the child/children, even if it is just a warm bath at the end of the day, or a book before bed. Make sure you have time to relax and unwind from the stresses of the day, and you may even need a few days vacation every now and then. If possible, see if there is someone trustworthy and reliable you can leave the grandchildren with for a day or two every once in a while for you to be able to re-energize and relax.

If you take things in stride, and have fun spending time with and caring for your grandchildren, you will find that being a second-time parent can be immensely enjoyable, and not just a stressful situation.
About the Author
Stephanie Davies is a work at home mom to a 9 year old boy in Mid-Missouri. Her hosting company, Hosting WAHMs at http://www.hostingwahms.com offers premium webhosting from $2 per month and up, with an easy to use sitebuilder! She also offers writing services through her website as well.
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