There is a family phenomenon that you can face right now, as you should be entering a comfortable life of old age and retirement.
But if you feel that you are being called upon to raise your grandchildren, this is an ancient lifestyle that is very different than expected.
It can be a little comforting to know that the incidence of grandparents who are called upon to raise their grandchildren is more common now than ever.
But the fact that many older adults have to raise their grandchildren does not make it easier to face this challenge.
There are many reasons why the elderly find themselves raising their grandchildren.
The nature of the problem says a lot about how you approach the many issues of parenting. The reasons range from the death of the parents to situations of abuse, drugs, or alcohol, or if your child had the baby outside of marriage.
Therefore, the extent to which you can have the biological father active in the baby’s life will be determined by the severity of why you are being asked to become a father a second time. Probably the biggest question you will ask is what to say to the child.
Honesty is so important in raising children. It won’t be long before you discover that your parents are much older than other children’s parents.
So if you can be honest, while it creates other anxieties in the child, those are much healthier for him to cope with than dealing with being deceived about his parents’ problems.
If you also have a birth mother, it can be good or bad. As the girl’s parents, you will be doing her a favor by allowing her to serve as a mother as much as you can.
The ideal situation would be if the child knew that this was his mother instead of saying that he is an older sister.
Then you can serve in the capacity of caregivers and facilitators, but still, allow the natural mother/child bond to help you both grow in these roles.
It may be difficult in the short term, but as the child grows up, you and your daughter will be happy that you have worked hard to deal with the problem in this way.
The availability of other family members will also be a factor in the parents’ demands. Children are active little creatures and love to run and play actively, especially with their parents.
But sometimes, the elderly are not so much running and playing as hugging and reading a kind of parent story.
If the child has uncles or aunts who live nearby and who can intervene and provide this type of support to the child, it will take some pressure from you to try to accompany the little ones.
When you take on the role of the father of your grandson, it is appropriate, although a little scary to look at the future for 18 years and ask myself: will I do it?
It is a fair question and one that you need to anticipate. Any parent takes care of the child in the event of death, and, in the case of the elderly raising children, these provisions are even more critical.
But the agreements do not end only with financial support.
If grandpa and grandma die before the child finishes growing up, there must be a natural and acceptable home for the child to go to, one that is comfortable for them and where they can continue to grow and learn with as little interruption as possible.
Before the death of your children, do not rule out your child’s return to assume the role of father again.
You don’t want this to be a hostile interruption.
If there were substance or abuse problems, there would be legal oversight, and a caseworker will have to be involved in determining whether your son or daughter is capable of being a parent.
But if they can accept that responsibility and are prepared to love and care for the child, then you can surrender that responsibility and feel fulfilled for doing your part to ensure that your precious grandson was appropriately treated when he or she needed you to.