How to Parent a Grandchild

Grandparents often play a vital role in the upbringing of their grandchildren. Occasionally a grandparent raises their grandchild alongside the parent or parents and other times grandparents assume the role of parents.

Sometimes it can be difficult for a grandparent to be a parent to their grandchild because of the generation gap and the role they have already assumed as grandparents. Usually a grandparent does not have to be the disciplinarian or guardian to a child so when they do take on this role, it is important for them to provide for the child’s emotional and practical needs.

Tips for parenting a grandchild:

  • Absence of Parents

If there are no parents involved then the most difficult factor the grandparents have to deal with is the fact that the parents are not there. Showing the child attention and affection is very important to help them feel like they are wanted and that you are not simply obligated to raise them. Make an effort to understanding your grandchild but asking about his likes, dislikes and getting involved in his school and extracurricular activities. Having an active support system is important for children who are either grieving or confused by absent parents.

  • Set a Routine

Having a routine gives kids a sense of structure and is crucial for any child who is adjusting to a new life, living arrangement or caretaker. Children can feel insecure and anxious when they have to handle these types of changes therefore stability is important because it gives them a sense of belonging and permanence. Your grandchild is likely to feel safer and secure if he has consistency in stability.

  • Building Personal Relationships

Develop your own relationship with your grandchild. It may not be exactly like the relationship he had with his parents and it may not reflect a traditional grandparent-grandchild relationship either but what is most important is that it works for both of you. Communication and being actively involved in your grandchild’s life are the first steps to establishing yourself as a loving, guiding caretaker. If you previously had a relationship with your grandchild prior to raising him, maintain that by continuing old traditions which will spark familiarity and comfort in him but also begin introducing new routines to get him accustomed to what his daily life will be.

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