Donna Dougherty Law P.C.

Support is important for grandparents taking over parenting role

It is not uncommon for grandparents in Virginia to take on the responsibility of raising their children’s children. According to AARP, raising grandchildren may require outside support. Many custodial grandparents are looking to community organizations, friends and designated peer groups to help ease the emotional overload that comes with raising grandchildren.

AARP notes that open communication may help custodial grandparents better plan their parenting strategy and avoid the resentment that may surface in the beginning or over time. Children have the right to know how the change will affect their lives, and open communication fosters trust in any relationship. It is also important for grandparents to reach out to relatives and discuss the situation. Even peers may be willing to help, but the first step is to ask.

There are plenty of outside resources available to grandparents. Most communities offer a variety of programs, including youth groups, welfare and child services and religious organizations. Many municipalities offer programs that can guide grandparents through legal issues and public resources. A child’s school is a great place to start. Grandparents can learn about mentoring and social services and even meet other caregivers in the same situation. These peers can become great resources and may be willing to trade services and offer emotional support.

Above all, new caregivers should first care for themselves. Otherwise, it will be difficult to become the go-to for another person. The American Grandparents Association suggests setting aside some personal time each day. Physical exercise benefits the mind just as much as the heart. Plus, it helps older adults keep up with the energy of younger children. 

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