Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I’m 67 and raising three grandchildren, two from my oldest daughter and one from my son.
I’ve had the two girls because my daughter overdosed on drugs and died. My grandson is with me for similar reasons, although he Skypes with my son in Alaska.
My husband passed away 10 years ago. My granddaughters lived down the street from me and I loved having them over to play and spoil them. However, they went home at night. I didn’t have to worry about homework, bullying, and boys.
The girls started to date. There’s always contention in our home. I’m afraid for them. I’m worried they’ll get into drugs, too. Plus, I still feel guilty about my daughter. I feel ashamed to say how hard this for me.
The girls told me my grandson, who is 8, is a bully at school. Just like his dad, he won’t talk with me.
I’m a real estate agent, and I’m tired from working, cleaning and being mom again.
Not A Good Mom, Again
You are a hero and you’re enough!
There are many in your situation, not that that alone helps. Statistics show almost 3 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren in the United States.
We hope the following will help you manage a most difficult situation:
1 – Take care of yourself. We live in a very challenging world and placing blame on yourself may take a toll on you mentally, physically, and emotionally. It’s OK to feel anger, grief, and helplessness, when your fun, traditional role of being a grandma isn’t the case right now. Your loss of independence has to be addressed.
2 – Find support groups in your area. HelpGuide.org is a nonprofit site that gives grandparents resources, tools, and ideas on making the most of raising your grandchildren. USA.gov is a federal government website that has a special page for grandparents raising grandchildren.
3 – Be consistent. Make sure you and your grandchildren have regular sleep, homework, dinner, and fun times set.
4 – Mealtime is essential. Learn about each other and don’t allow phones or negativity. Ask for their input for their rules. It’ll create a more connected and loving family.
5 – Get help from your community. Activities and relaxation for you are not a luxury, they are a necessity. A Big Brother from the Big Brother Big Sister organization may help your grandson. Continue to help your grandson stay in touch with his father.
Most of all, we want you to know you make a huge and great difference in our world, by helping your grandchildren … for many generations to come.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri