Are You Raising Your Grandchildren?

By Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell

Some of you are raising your grandchildren, perhaps by yourself. To enrich the special relationship between you and your grandchild, utilize the many existing support systems. Local organizations are available to help. Look to the elementary school system, adult education programs at the community college, and area churches and synagogues for special programs aimed at you. Many hospitals and birthing programs offer “Mommy and Me” classes that welcome grandmothers with open arms. You can also form informal play groups through word of mouth or with the help of a friendly pediatrician. Private support groups are springing up under the domain of family therapists — for example, some therapy groups for menopausal women may deal with the joys and challenges of being a grandparent.

Additionally, a growing number of grandparents are involved in commercial activity classes for children. Organizations such as the Young Grandparents Club are listed in national parenting magazines and are forming groups nationwide. If your town has a local parents’ newspaper, read it. In fact, read everything you can find. The other day, I noticed a column for grandparents in a union newsletter. Other grandparents are out there — take a stroll to the neighborhood park and you’ll see. Practice pick-up lines such as “How many grandchildren do you have?” and “How old is the baby?” You’re not alone. In fact, you’ll never be alone again!

Our parenting advice is given as suggestions only. We recommend you also consult your healthcare provider, and urge you to contact them immediately if your question is urgent or about a medical condition.