Grandparents are some of the greatest cup fillers in the world. A large number, because drugs have destroyed a generation, are parenting their grandchildren. Here are some cup-filling guidelines for grandparents finding themselves parenting the second time around.
Grandparents are some of the greatest cup fillers in the world. A large number, because drugs have destroyed a generation, are parenting their grandchildren. Just the time when they’re looking forward to getting back into the work force, doing some traveling, or taking it easier, they find themselves with a houseful of kids. Instead of full-cup kids, however, parental conflict, separation, neglect, and punitive care have emptied their cups. And grandparents have to deal with the consequences of empty, leaky cups they never experienced with their own children. The job is tougher! And just as the healing starts and the cup begins to fill, there is the chance that the child will be swept back into cup-emptying environments by order of the court or by parental guilt. Here are some cup-filling guidelines for grandparents finding themselves parenting the second time around:
Remember, you are the grandparents – not the parents. Children are the products of their parents, and their value is wrapped up in their parents. Don’t destroy the image of their parents.
Do everything possible to help the children maintain respect for their parents. You don’t have to approve of their behavior. You don’t have to be gullible and allow them to use you, but you can treat them with dignity.
When things get tough, get help. The children you are caring for may have special needs because of their fractured pasts. Read parenting books, take parent-education classes, but that may not be enough. Family counseling may give you the edge you need to hasten the healing and the filling.
Don’t be afraid to discipline. When children come from broken homes, they are desperately in need of security. Knowing where the boundaries are and knowing there is someone strong enough to keep the boundaries will give the children the security they crave.
But remember, you can only discipline as much as you’re willing to love. Your psychologically bruised and battered little ones are going to need a lot of individual attention. They’re going to soak it up. And loving, especially the unlovable, takes energy. You’re going to need a lot of it.
But along with the hard work, there will be the rewards. And hopefully you’ll end up having a special love “affair” with your grandchildren.
Published in: Family