nannykharmon's picture
nannykharmon

raising grandchildren

I am a 52 year old grandmother who has just taken custody of my 2 wonderful grandchildren.  My granddaughter is 8 and in the 3rd grade and my grandson is 3 and in daycare.  I don't know where I went wrong with their mother but after lots of sleepless nights and worring, my husband and came to the decission that this was the best thing we could do for our grandkids.  It is not easy starting all over again, but they are very important to us and their mother and fathers are so much into themselves that they don't have time for kids.  I know there are alot of grandparents raising their grandchildren so if any one has any suggestions on making things go alittle smoother, I would really like to hear from you. Thanks for listening. Nanny K



gail's picture
gail

Just a few ideas, tried and true in my family, to pick and choose for yours.

1.  Read aloud together every night, everybody, even the three year-old.  The way you do this is, you tell the little one words or phrases, and the little one repeats it.  The 3rd-grader and the grown-ups can take turns with sentences or paragraphs.  When she comes to a word that makes her hesitate, you supply it, don't make her sound it out in this read-aloud time.  We use scriptures, but a novel or "chapter book" would work, too.  If the chapters are too long, don't do a whole chapter.  Talk about the story.  Talk about the hard words.  Talk about everything.

My Father's Dragon

The Boxcar Children

Winnie the Pooh and the House at Pooh Corner

Your favorite when you were 8.

Her favorite that she already read by herself.

2.  Family meeting once a week.  A short lesson on social skills, or character,  or any anything at all (game night, how to play checkers!).  Singing and treats. 

3.  Play outside if at all possible.  Garden (even a single pot with a tomato plant in it, or a windowbox with lettuce).  Share as many sunsets and sunrises as you can. 

4.  Make life as easy as you can.  I'm 51 with a 10 year old.  I can't imagine being 52 with a 3 year old.  Early bedtime for the children.  Early bedtime for the old folks, too.

grandmalizzie's picture
grandmalizzie

Nanny,

I'm a grandmother also. I'm not raising my grandchildren but I have had them for extended periods. I notice when I have them for a short time, anything goes. We stay up late, we snack, we have great fun and mess up the house. When they leave, I'm exhausted. When they stay longer I try to keep them on a schedule. If you're working outside the home you are probably exhausted when you get home. I suggest having the children help with the dinner routine even if it's something small like setting the table or washing fruit and when dinner is finished have a responsibility for each child. It will help you and they will feel important. Your 8 year old probably has homework that you may need to help her with. Have a special activity for your 3 year old to do and let him know that when you're finished you will spend time with him reading a story or playing a game. You may want to set a timer.  A bedtime routine is very helpful. I made a simple chart so my grandchildren know what to do. It includes a bath, a snack, brushing teeth, a story, and prayers. I had them help me make the chart and they drew pictures to represent each activity. I hope this is helpful, good luck.

junesaxon's picture
junesaxon

Dear Nanny, I too am raising grandchildren. I'm 60 my husband 71. We have 3 girls- 6, 7, & 15. They are my sons children, We have had them for nearly 6 years now. We got them just 1 year after we retired,  My son see's them sometime, but he is remarried now and has a new son. The mother left and has never returned. My husband, who is my sons stepfather, and I were able   take parental rights from both parents and have addopted them. They are healthy happy children now. There is nothing easy in raising them, At this age I sometime think I must have been out  of my mind, to think I could do this. But the alternative would have been much worse. Instead of traveling like we had planned we now go to parks and have picnics. And do  lots of homework, which by the way is nothing like it used to be. Now we are going to deal with the dating scene again, Thats all different too. We are involved in church activities and a lot of school things. We also read to each other all the time and play lots of games and watch movies together, We pray together. The two little girls are both adhd . They are both on medication for this.  I used to wonder how I could have raised such an irresponsible son and I don't know what went wrong , He started using drugs at about 17 and it got worse from there, He is 34 now and to my knowlege he is clean. I pray he is for the little baby's sake.                    

The confusion and chaos you are having now is a lot better than all the sleepless nights and worring you would have had if you hadn't taken the children. I know.  Just love them and play with them and stay on their level, it's just as much of an adjustment for them as for you. I know this isn't what you ask for , but I just wanted to let you know you are not alone. PRAYER's, GRANDMA

 

momagain's picture
momagain

We are raising two of our granddaughters, 9 &10. They have been with us for 7 years and we adopted them 4 years ago. I am 55 and my husband is 78. We too spent many sleepless nights wondering what our daughter was going to do next. She is an alcoholic and bipolar who refuses to take the meds needed to control her mood swings.  I don't have any easy solutions for success, we just do our best every day. We reintroduced ourselves to parenting by taking some classes and we make sure the girls know how much we love them.


 


This is my first visit to this site, your comments touched me and I just wanted to introduce myself and send you blessings.


 


 

psprey's picture
psprey

I certainly know what you are going through.
I have a 14 yr old girl that has been with my husband and I since Aug 2000. It has been a long road but you will never regret it.
I don't know what state you live in but get whatever kind of help out there that is available to you. Do you have health insurance for the children and are you receiving child support?
And why is it that when we all go to tell our stories we want to know what we did wrong with our children. I have stopped trying to figure that one out and I sleep better at night because of it.
We love this girl so much and after all this time we really consider ourselves a family.
My life has changed for the better. I have two best friends who are moms and are 20 years younger than me! Everything changes when you raise grandchildren. No knitting for me!! Hang in there.

meems's picture
meems

I have 2 grandsons here, 5 and 3. The older one goes to kindergarten and brings homework home. So I went online and got some preschool color pages and basic skill builder worksheets and the younger one does homework with "brudder". We also do easy crafts 2 or 3 nights a week and story time the other nights. Last night we dipped hands in glue and put them on poster board in the heart shape and then glittered them and dated. We planted a big garden this year and they help pull weeds and pick. They love being outside, sidewalk chalk and bubbles are a must here. If you have a dollar tree near they have nifty craft stuff. Yours are a few years apart but mine are peat and repeat. By 8 pm most nights they are ready to drop, as am I. I work full time also. It is not easy but to me well worth the small sacrifice of time, and sleep.
Please Do not blame yourself for bio's problems, as long as you know you did all you could, you have to find peace with it. Once they are grown, the choices they make are thiers and do not reflect upon your parenting skills. I too dealt with those issues, but through other sites found my sanity. Now my focus is on these very active boys. She made her choice and it is her loss. Neither boy knows their dad, and they don't come around.

Jellybeanlover's picture
Jellybeanlover

NannyK
We too are grandparents age 52, and adopted our grandchildren ten years ago. Their parents were just like many, not responsible, and full of themselves. We had the heartache of wondering what we had done wrong and worry of loosing the babies. The social worker at the time said "kiss your retirement good-by! You are going to have to adopt or lose them". So we found a good lawyer and have since moved to another state to start over.
That was a big change, we were happy where we were, but felt it best for us and the children to have a Fresh Start. They know us as Mom and Dad, though they know the truth, as we talk ALOT. Neither of the birth parents are intrested or involved. Neither has offered any $$ or support from day one.

As for suggestions:
I think if you were to talk to a tax person there is some refund you can get for adopting, it's not alot but at our age every dollar helps. We read books or watch family viedos, and try to keep up what kids like to do fishing, swimming, walks, ect.. I help out in school in their classes, and have them help me with cooking and cleaning, though the baking is the most fun for them. We try to be normal as possible. We have the garden,and pets and yes it is starting over again. No, I don't think I have ever regretted adopting as it got them out of the system, and we were not being told what or when or how we should raise them. Nor do I feel moving was a bad, difficult at first. But when isn't moving challenging. We have a variety of new friends, some younger and some older. Some know the true story some don't. We are accepted by all. And we do have two other grandchildren being raised by their own parents. So we have a taste of what being a real Grandpa and Grandma is. And it is fun when we can be just that.
I have met some who said their marriage is going south due to the grandchildren being with them so much. One said her hubby gave her a choice, him or the grandchild. She was in tears as to how to choose. No one said raising children was easy, you make mistakes, it's the same with the gandchildren. We are trying and I know we have made mistakes before, but hopefully not the same ones again. I can only suggest to continue to love these children more and let them know you are there for them. Encourage them and don't blame them for their parents faults. A dear man share with us "love them twice as hard as they have twice the battle to face in life, you are the grandparent and they the grandchild, so love em' twice as much". I try hard to practice this even when my feet and back ache at the middle of day.

I had done a google search on grandparents raising grandchildren. There is some info. But as each of our situations is unique, I wasn't helped by it much. I wish the goverment would give us Grandparents a tax break as we are older and life brings more challenges.

Just wondering too... Sometimes don't you wish we had president or someone in congress who walked in our shoes? Oh the possiblities that could happen.
I read that almost 2/3 of grandparents today are either part time or full time caregivers to their grandchildren (didn't mention how many had adopted). Our numbers are growing. It seems like we are not the minority anymore, just the silent. What do you think?

I have questions and thoughts. It's nice to know there are others out there. I'll be watching this thread more, as it a comfort to read.

cate0404's picture
cate0404

I can not add as a grandmother but I can add a little I think as a single Mum to four. I admire all the grandparents out there that have done what you all have done. The father of my children has no interest in seeing his kids so I live on my own with them but I am not on my own, I have wonderful parents that have a major influence in my children's lives. My Mum is my "husband", I talk to her about everything and get her advice, my father is their "father" and their male influence. If it was not for my parents my road and my children's road would be a lot longer and a lot harder. I hope you all know what a GREAT job you are doing and you are invaluable to these children. It is hard when the grandparents also have to be the parents and can't just spoil their grandkids and it is also a shame that both you and them have to miss out on this. I hope you all find the help and wisdom out there to help you and the children get through this, but also know that if it wasn't for you raising these children they would be just one more in the "system". I also would like to say to all the grandparents out their "thanks for sharing your stories".

RenBrad's picture
RenBrad

My husband and I are in our mid fifties, and are raising 3 grankids, 6, 8, and 9. We have had them for almost 6 yrs, and now are seriously thinking about adopting them. We have put a lot of time effort and money into giving them a great education and good christian morals. Everytime I think, "what are we doing", they say or do something that makes it all worth while. I Plan things for them to do, and also get their aunt to take them at least every other weekend. We have 30 min. quiet time everyday after school, and they go to bed at 7:50pm, which gives my husband and I time to think or discuss issues. Their mom says she wants them back, but her life is a constant roller coaster, and I will not let her drag them on it. She refuses to work and wants someone (doesn't matter who)to take care of her. When she was in school she was an A student, but for some reason she thinks (at 26) she is not suppose to work??? She is constanly asking for money, but never pays it back. Sometimes I think she wants the kids to be a miserable as she is by discussing her problems to kids hat can't do a thing to help her. I believe she wants them to feel sorry for her.

RenBrad's picture
RenBrad

We have had our gk's for almost 6 yrs, and want to adopt. The mother of the kids says she wants them back but is a constant trainwreck. After almost 6yrs she is still waiting for someone else to take care of her,and refuses to work. When she had the kids her money went on her boyfriends, friends, and partying until she was evicted from her townhome. We were tired of bailing her out and just took the kids in. How hard was it for you to adopt?