Grandparents need a break from the parenting role

Today, so much special time for America’s children and grandparents has been lost. Many grandparents are being forced into the role of parenting and supporting their grandchildren. It is especially hard when they are expected to allow their adult children and grandchildren live in their home. This changes the entire dynamics of the family structure.

Too many parents are expecting more than grandparents should be required to give. Many of them ask grandparents to take the grandchildren into their homes for months or even years. A strong bond is formed between the children and grandparent. This is especially true if the children are in the home from infancy. Parents will often ask grandparents to babysit for long extended portions of time. What they may not realize or maybe simply refuse to see is that the bond between grandparent and grandchild can start to blur and become more like mother and child. This makes it particularly hard on all concerned when it comes time for the grandchildren to move out or leave. Imagine how an adoptive parent who loses custody of a child after months or years feels. The same feelings can be applied to the grandparent who suddenly loses the child or children that they have become so emotionally attached to.

Adding to the feelings of loss is the fact that the grandparent has no legal rights. They must simply stand by quietly and accept it. The parents can even begin to feel defensive and vindictive when they realize just how much they have contributed to this loss. It is hard for adults to take responsibility for what they may have done to the grandparent.

The child or children may also feel this loss. They have been with the grandparent so much in some cases that they feel closer to them than their own parents. They also may feel safer with the steadiness and comfort of the grandparents home after such long exposure. The parents often resent this even if they are the primary cause of the situation.

The best  way to prevent this from happening is for the parents to actively stay involved in the child’s life. They must not depend on the grandparents to care for the children when they could be doing it themselves. In other words, Be A Parent. Don’t take advantage of the situation as a time for partying and having fun without responsibilities. They will often fall into the role of being a teenager living at home again if mom and dad are there to pick up the slack. The may believe that this will not harm their children, but they are wrong. Some parents even seem to believe that their current financial problems entitle them to “take it easy” for a while and check out of their responsibilities. This could not be more wrong.

Suddenly removing children from the grandparents they have been their primary caregiver for long periods of time can be detrimental to all parties concerned. The children will resent their parents for causing them pain. The grandparents may experience pain that is equal to that of losing their own child. Parents that have to move back home need to take care to prevent all of these things from happening or long term and sometimes never-ending family problems will occur.