I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a “typical family”. We all do things and live differently. This is particularly true of grandparents who raise their grandkids. Of course, to raise grandkids at all presents its challenges. But if those kids have RAD, it’s all the more difficult (to say the least).
In honor of Grandparent’s Day yesterday, I’d like to give my full attention to the grandpas and grandmas. This post is for you. Thank you for all that you do.
Grandparents Who Raise Little Ones
- I know a couple whose young daughter had a son. They all raised the boy together. When the daughter moved into a home of her own, they split the parenting duties. Similar to divorced parents, she and her parents took turns caring for the boy.
- Another set of grandparents I know have a daughter who is mentally ill who had a little boy. However, she and the father of the child aren’t able to raise him. Although they had grand plans for retirement, these grandparents are busy raising their grandson.
I could go on and on with these stories. I mention them to let you know that you’re not alone in your journey.
Your Grandkids Question Themselves
Grandkids have all the same questions as an adopted child. They wonder:
Why wasn’t I good enough?
Did my mom not want me?
Who am I?
Where do I really belong?
Can anyone truly love me?
We all know how much grandparents love their grandchildren. As a grandparent, these questions can really weigh on your heart. Don’t take it on alone. Seek help from professionals who can help you answer these tough questions. Here are some more tips…
If you’re a grandparent who raises a little one with RAD issues, here are 8 tips to help the child and yourself:
1. Find a support group. Others your age and in your situation will be the best friends you can find! They will understand and listen. Even if you can’t find a support group just for grandparents, join a support group for parents of kids with RAD. Better yet, start your own! Contact our Executive Director, Forrest Lien, if you’d like some tips about ways to start your own RAD support group.
2. Find a good therapist and psychiatrist for your family.
3. Learn everything you can about reactive attachment disorder. Few people truly understand the disorder and you’ll need to find quality information on your own.
4. Remember that you are now in the parent role, not the grandparent role. Sometimes, this requires a significant shift in thinking. Many grandparents are used to giving lots of gifts and have trouble saying no. Kids with RAD have specific issues with entitlement. You simply must be aware of these issues and do your own work to combat them. Read our past blog post about holidays and kids with RAD to learn more about entitlement issues.
5. Find relief and breaks. Weekends or even just an hour away help you get the rest you need to shoulder the heavy responsibilities you carry.
6. Take good care of yourself. Eat right and exercise. Your health is vital to feeling good and strong for the road ahead.
7. Take parenting classes. You’ve raised your kids. But it’s always good to brush up on your skills, especially with the Internet, cell phones, and pads we didn’t have even 15 or 20 years ago. This is a good tip for anyone raising any kids, RAD issues or not.
8. Realize what an important job you’re taking on every day. Keep up the amazing work you do as a grandparent, whatever that role entails.
Image courtesy of worradmu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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