To my Grandma and Grandpa who had
the courage to leave Russia and
come to America…
Grandparents Are a Blessing
When God created Grandparents
The world was truly blessed
With all the special joys
That make a family happiest…
For grandparents know how to do
The things that warm a heart,
They touch our lives with loving care
Right from the very start…
They show that they believe in us
And all we’re dreaming of…
When God created grandparents,
He blessed our lives with love.
We are now living in an increasingly complex world characterized by dysfunctional families…soaring divorce rates…opioid/drug addiction…suicide and other problems.
These issues represent an increasing burden for grandparents who must now become more involved as caregivers, if not parents…to their grandchildren. For many, this is happening in their retirement years…forcing them to exhaust funds saved for what should have been their “golden years!”
The purpose of this book is to increase awareness and management of issues often confronting grandparents in their hopes for a loving and joyous relationship with their grandkids. Unfortunately, the realities of grandparenthood do not always meet the expectations. The law governing these relationships is long overdue for review and change.
In 2000 the Supreme Court made a decision in a case named “Troxel vs. Granville” that became the cornerstone law of the land governing grandchild visitation. Simply stated, the decision concluded that the parents were the best judge of who should have visitation rights with their children! Although each state has its own unique statutes on the subject of visitation, “Troxel” is included in all of them. So…although grandparents have the right to petition and/or retain legal counsel…it’s a tough – and expensive – uphill battle with limited chance of success.
Hopefully, this book will help you to address the issue of visitation and also many others.
There have been a substantial number of articles, reports, and studies published on major grandchildren issues in which grandparents can…and often do…play an invaluable role. Because these publications collectively reach only a tiny percentage of grandparents, the odds of any grandparent finding them are small indeed.
The objective of this book…after an exhaustive search…is to collect the best of that material in one place listed under the appropriate topic. For example: “Mother-in-Law vs. Daughter-in-law will contain the best articles, etc. on that subject from a variety of sources.
So, in summary, the book holds well over 200 articles of interest and value to grandparents. All the reader needs to do is bring up the title on his/her device and that will prompt the entire article.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Conflict with Daughter-in-Law
Conflict between Grandparents
Grandparents/New Grandchild Names
Grandkids with Birth Defects and Illnesses
“Special Needs” Grandchildren
Grandchild Cancer/Life-Ending Illness
Grandchildren and Death
Intellectually Gifted Grandchildren
Grandkids with Music/Art Skills
Grandkids with Sports Skills
Rejection by Grandchildren
Rude and Disrespectful Grandkids
Adopted Grandkids – American & Foreign
Grandparents: Faith and Intermarriage
Interracial Grandkids’ Marriage
Grandparents/Unwed Teen Pregnancy
Grandkids Born Out of Wedlock
Grandkids Being Bullied – or Bullying
Grandchildren and Cults
Grandchildren & Drugs
Understanding a Grandparent Death
A Grandchild’s Death
Becoming a Foster Grandparent or Adopter
Grandchildren Used as “Weapons” or “Pawns”
Is Grandpa a Pedophile?
Grandparent Personal Issues
Too Much Huggin’ ‘n Kissin’ Grandparents
The “Perfect” Grandparent
Far Away Grandparents
Grandparent Location – Location – Location
Grandkids & Money
Grandparents as Banks
Grandparents: The Future
• Articles on Great-Grandparents
• Books Worth a Look
• Additional Reading Suggestions
The issue of Grandparent Visitation is obviously a key element in all the problems reviewed here. It is also the most difficult!
The nature of resentments, misunderstandings, and conflicts between parents and grandparents are many and varied. Research into the general topic of “Visitation” opens a large collection of articles, reports, and research that addresses the various aspects of the subject. For example, if you want to know the law in your state, simply prompt “Grandparents’ Rights State by State.”
The following is a listing of the best:
*•Limits on Grandparent Visitation: The Continuing Ripples of Troxel v. Granville
*•Grandparent Rights and Grandparent Visitation
*•What Rights Do I Have to Visit with My Grandchildren?
*•Grandparents’ Entitlements and Obligations
•Parents Blocking Grandparents’ Relationship with Grandchildren
•Grandparent Visitation Claims: Assessing the Multiple Harms of Litigation to Families and Children
•Family Mediation Can Resolve Grandparent Visitation Disputes
*•How to Cope With Losing Contact with Grandchildren
•Grandparents Denied Access to Grandchildren
•A Survey of the 50 States’ Grandparent Visitation Statutes
*•Parents vs. Grandparents: The Top 10 Conflicts. THIS IS A “MUST
*•Before Grandparents Sue for Visitation
•Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (Note: Because of the opioid crisis, millions of grandparents are now becoming parents to their grandkids!)
•Grandparents’ Visitation Law Back on the Books
•What States Have Grandparent Visitation Rights?
As a final – and key point – the grandparents must eliminate a problem of their own making – TOO MUCH UNSOLICITED ADVICE! This is repeatedly mentioned by the parents of your grandkids so…never forget…YOU’VE HAD YOUR TURN…NOW IT’S THEIRS!
It’s your first grandchild and you can’t wait to get to the hospital…see who it looks like…suggest some names! Give some professional advice!
Whoa…slow down…wait a minute! Doesn’t the new mom have a right to privacy recovering from a difficult birth before receiving well-meaning visitors? What about bonding with her newborn while adjusting to breast-nursing and bonding as a family? But…you’ve been there before, so you’re full of great advice! Wait a minute…you’ve had your experience as a parent…now it’s their turn to do things their way! So…control your impatience and wait for an invitation. And, don’t forget…IT’S THEIR CHILD!
•Why Parents Won’t Let Grandparents Visit a Newborn
•Top 7 Tips for New and Expecting Grandparents
•Advice for Someone Becoming a Grandparent for the First Time
•Notes from a New Grandma
Conflict with Daughter-in-Law: (I’m personally impacted by this.)
If you’re the mother of your grandkids’ mother, you should be on easy street. If you’re the mother-in-law of your grandkids’ mother, you’re starting behind the proverbial 8-ball! They just simply dislike each other! It traces all the way back to your first meeting. Bad chemistry or Karma? She sensed you disapproved of the marriage…didn’t think she was good enough for your son!
Well…now she’s his wife and the mother of your grandkids. O my! She decides who has “visitation” with her kids…how often and for how long! If you looked forward to a long, close and joyous relationship with your grandkids, you’ve got a big relationship repair job confronting you. It will probably involve a large degree of what is rudely described as “kiss-ass” on your part…not very enjoyable. But…you gotta do what you gotta do! Compliment her on her performance as a mother…give her generous gifts on appropriate occasions…NEVER give her parental advice…reassure your son on what a great wife he chose and that you were wrong about her in your original opinion.
Tell her parents that you had some reservations at first, but you now see what she’s a wonderful wife and mother. (Practice doing this to strike the right sincerity note! Even the kids should be told how lucky they are to have a great mom who’s also a great cook. You may not be crazy about this strategy, but it’s probably the best prescription for success…improved visitation! NO…a “hit man” is out of the question!
FLATTERY COMPLIMENTS PRAISE
Take a look at the following for additional ideas and perspectives:
*• 9 Arguments You Should Never Have with your Daughter-in-Law
*• Mending Grandmother/Daughter-in-Law Relationships
*• EAT CROW – Definition
• If your Daughter-in-Law is a Bully, Read This
• How to Handle a Manipulative Daughter-in-Law
• Mother-in-Law Feels Rejected by Daughter-in-Law
• Grandparenting: a Positive Face of In-law Relationships
• Ask Dr. Gramma Karen; Overprotective Daughter-in-Law Limits Grandparent’s Access
• A Nation of Wimps
• Ask Dr. Meg: Missing My Grandchildren
• Missing My Grandchildren: Circle of Moms
*•How to Keep the Peace with Your Daughter-in-Law
*•5 Biggest Mistakes of Mothers-in-Law
Conflict Between Grandparents:
Whichever set of grandparents live geographically closer has a definite edge, but that may be offset by the other grandparents giving the most frequent and expensive gifts. Also…how do you settle where the holidays will be celebrated? In the final analysis, a major advantage goes to the parents of the birth mother. It’s awfully hard for a mother-in-law to overcome that.
How this influences the grandkids themselves is hard to say. If they’re smart, they’ll probably find a way to use it to their advantage. The best solution: go see a professional therapist together and work out a truce.
Some Words of Wisdom:
•Battle of the Grandparents
•The In-law Tug of War
•Fighting Over Grandbaby
•Do Maternal Grandparents Outrank Paternals?
Grandparents/New Grandchild Names:
This is an issue of potentially significant conflict and a long-lasting fallout. Judaism…for example…has long-held traditional practices in choosing a name for the newborn and a ceremony for males called a “Bris.” Other faiths have their own special practices while the least committed simply want to name the child after their favorite uncle or aunt. The majority consensus of opinion seems to be “…stay out of it grandparents! Who named your kids?!
Here are a variety of views:
• Grandparents offer an absurd amount of money for the right to name a grandchild
• When You Hate a Grandchild’s Name
• The Top 14 Baby Names Your Parents and In-laws Will Hate
• As a Grandpa-to-be, I Have Opinions on What My Grandchild is Named – if Not Any Influence
• What’s Your Role at the New-baby Ceremony?
• 8 Times Grandparents Don’t Get to Choose
• 11 Ways to Honor Your Family When Naming Your Kids
• Naming Your Babies after Deceased Grandparents
Grandkids with Birth Defects and Illnesses:
Nature can play some dirty tricks! Too often grandkids are born with some terrible debilitating illness or handicap that is not only a source of pain for the child, but for the entire family.
So…unless you’re a physician specializing in that problem…what can you do? Well…extending patience, understanding, and love to the afflicted child would be a great start. In addition, based on your financial circumstances, extending help with the medical bills would be met with gratitude from everyone involved.
Here’s some reading that should be helpful:
• Congenital Defects in Infants
*•Children Birth Defects
• Birth Defects are Common
• A Wide Range of Disabilities
• List of 10 Rare Diseases Affecting Children
• 11 Deadly Viruses that Children Are Prone to Getting
*•Some of the World’s Deadliest Diseases Affecting Children are the Easiest to Cure
• Fatal Childhood Diseases
**•Childhood Diseases: Causes Symptoms and Remedy
• The Wide Spectrum of Mood Disorders
*•When Your Grandchild has Attention Deficit Disorder (ADHD)
“Special Needs” Grandchildren:
All of us pray that this will not occur in our families and give thanks for normal children. If it does happen, what can a grandparent do? Acceptance, love, and support are what occur to me. Possibly financial support to underwrite the special equipment and care that will be required.
Here are some valuable perspectives:
**•Special Grandparenting for a Grandchild with Special Needs
• Grandparents Raising Grandchildren with Developmental Disabilities
• To Grandparents of Special Needs Children
*•How to Be Fabulous Grandparents to a Child with Special Needs
**•Understanding Your Special Needs Grandchildren: A Grandparents’ Guide
• Support Groups for Grandparents with Special Needs Grandchildren
Grandchild Cancer/Life-Ending Illness
Can anything possibly be worse than having a grandchild with a horrible disease that is forecast to end their lives prematurely? The first thing occurring to me is that – if ever there was a time to put aside petty family grievances – THIS IS IT!
Other than that, I think it would be presumptuous for me to offer advice. Instead, I have pulled together a collection of resources that can help, as follows:
• The Adolescent Living with a Life-Threatening Illness
• Teens Who Are Coping with a Life-Threatening Illness
• A guide for Grandparents of Children with Cancer
• Cancer Support for Grandparents
• Grandparents – Children Cancer Leukemia Group
• Keeping the Magic Alive for Children with Life-Threatening Illnesses
Grandchildren and Death:
Depending on their age, a death is probably one of the most traumatic events in a child’s life. Let me quickly add: that discussion you intend to have with a grandchild you SHOULD CLEAR WITH A PARENT FIRST! Failure to do so could result in some serious misunderstandings. It makes sense within the context of a discussion of death to make your grandchild understand that…one day…you will die, too. If you’re successful, it should reduce the child’s pain when it happens.
Again, parents should be informed about what you’d like to do. The point should be made that doing so will take a lot of the burden off the parents’ explanation. A grandmother who is very close to the child will probably be the more sensitive of the two grandparents in handling the subject.
The following is a list of some excellent sources on the subject:
• How Children Understand Death and What You Should Say
• 12 Ways to Help Children Understand Death
• Helping Very Young Children Understand Death
• Helping Bereaved Children
*•How to Tell a Child about Death of a Grandparent
*•Children’s Understanding of Death at (their) Different Ages
• When Do Kids Understand Death?
*•Concepts of Death by Age Group
• Help Kids Cope with a Grandparent’s Death
Intellectually Gifted Grandchildren:
Having a super-smart grandkid can be either a blessing – or a curse. His family will obviously take great pride in his/her braininess and go so far as to use the nickname “Einstein” or some such thing. From their contemporaries there will be resentment and envy as class grades are skipped and their report cards reflect excellence in all subjects. For the young child, the unfriendly attitudes will not be easy to deal with. A brilliant career probably lies ahead, but there will be emotional issues along the way. That’s where grandparents can play a role.
Here are a few excellent perspectives:
*•14 Signs Your Grandchild May be Gifted
• Tips for Parents: How Gifted Children Impact the Family
**•Vulnerabilities of Highly Gifted Children
*•Grandparents’ Guide to Gifted Children
• Intellectual Giftedness
Grandkids with Music/Art Skills:
Is it possible that you have a possible Mozart or Rembrandt or…if you want something more modern…a Gershwin or T.J. Max among your grandkids? After all, these creative types have gotta come from someone’s family! So…why not yours? Musical instrument lessons and trips to concerts and museums could be a start. Gifts of modeling clay or Play-Doh may give you a clue. Or, a sketch pad and drawing instruments which grandparents may be able to fund instruction for that perhaps parents can’t. Grandkids will become prodigies of their grandparents!
Any of these articles should help you figure out if you’ve got a budding creative genius:
•Is My child Artistically Gifted?
*•Early Signs to Look for in Gifted Children
•Vulnerabilities of Highly Gifted Children
•Gifted and Talented Art Program
*•5 Ways to Nurture Gifted Art Students
•Artistically Gifted 5-year-old
*•Recent Research – Identification of the Musically Talented Student: The Assessment of Musical Potential and Musical Performance
Grandkids with Sports Skills:
Your grandkids’ participation in sports can be the source of critical qualities like confidence, self-esteem, and character. In case you haven’t noticed, sports can also result in winning millions in tennis and golf purses, great salaries…and bonuses…in baseball, the NBA, and the NFL! Then, there’s big money in what we call soccer and the rest of the world calls football. Even fringe sports like bowling can generate a handsome income, too. And it’s not so hard on the body.
So, encourage your grandkids in their sports interest. Depending on the level of their skills, you might even consider special coaching and/or summer camps that focus on their interests and abilities.
But…don’t ignore their education in the process. The number of athletes that make it to the big payday compared to all those aspirants is very small, indeed.
Take a look at these:
*•The Next Level Sports Grandparents
•Should I Worry about Grandchildren’s Sports?
•Grandparents Can Provide a Critical Need: Attention
*•Sports Skills Do Not Always “Just Happen.”
*•Are Great Coaches Becoming an Endangered Species?
*•What You Need to Know About Long-Term Athlete Development
Rejection by Grandchildren:
This is a real heart-breaker! Sometimes it’s as simple as the child going through a “phase.” More seriously, it may have its origins with visitation issues and the parents’ attitudes towards you that the kids recognize. This one’s too tough for me! Hopefully, it may be “funny faces” you make that scare the child. Don’t!
Maybe you’re too aggressive with affection…hugging and kissing! Scale it back a little. Maybe it’s as simple as bad breath.
Here are some great sources of advice and points of view:
*•Rejection by Grandchildren
*•Granddaughter Doesn’t Like Me
• When a Grandchild Reacts Badly to the Grandparents
*•Why Does My Grandson Hate Me?
• Why My 2-Year-old Granddaughter Suddenly Doesn’t Want Anything to do with Me
• My Grandchildren Don’t Want to Spend Time with Me
*•My Teenage Granddaughter Doesn’t Like Me
• Grandma, Your Breath Smells Funny
• Grandma/Grandpa Don’t Smell Good
The only advice I can offer is to recall the feeling of my father’s belt on my butt when I behaved badly. Unfortunately, violent solutions like that have grown out of favor. Too bad! The old adage…“Spare the Rod and Spoil the Child” was advice that has been long forgotten.
I am confident that non-violent solutions can be found in the following:
•Dilemma: My Grandchildren Don’t Do as They’re Told
•Dilemma: I Want to Spoil my Grandkids
•Out of Control Grandchildren
•Grandma Ready to Call it Quits over Out-of-Control Grandchildren
*•Help…My Grandchild is Out-of-Control
•How to Handle Unruly Grandchildren
•Why do My Grandchildren Ignore Me?
•How to Deal with Bratty Grandchildren
*•Tantrums and Whining
•International Grandparents/Handling Difficult Behavior
Rude and Disrespectful Grandkids:
If you’re upset by being confronted with this kind of behavior, take consolation in the fact that you’re probably not alone. The number of those offended is probably a big club! Most importantly, you have a big weapon – you control a large part of actual and potential gift giving…up to $14,000/yr. per grandchild for the affluent among you. That ain’t chopped liver!
Here are a few more points of view:
•Do You Have a Rude Grand Teen?
•How Do You Deal with a Rude Teenage Child?
•My Granddaughter is Disrespectful
•7 Ways to Fix Rude Teen Behavior
•Managing Rude Grandchildren Behavior
Don’t believe that your grandkid’s lying and dishonesty are just a passing phase. Now is the time that the character traits of honesty and integrity…and future reputation…are being sown. Depending on the seriousness of this behavior, it may be too much for you and the parents to handle without professional help…a critical decision. Nipping it in the bud with younger kids is easier to handle than with teens.
With them, one thing I have found effective is to emphasize that “…our family has a reputation for honesty and trustworthiness. Do you want to be the one responsible for ending that?” Punishment in the form of no car or no TV probably won’t be enough of a deterrent.
In Summary: Kids are devious little devils! They will manipulate you and lie to get what they want…get away with whatever they can! Don’t fall for it!
I strongly suggest you start with a review of the following:
•Lies and Lying Grandchildren Who Tell Them
•The Honest Truth about Teen Dishonesty
•Granddaughter is stealing and Lying
•Children Lie (Amazon)
•Teach Your Dragon to Stop Lying (Children’s book)
Like many age-old moms, the numbers of mixed-race grandkids is changing …increasing. As the civil liberties movement creates more educational and career opportunities, the two races are physically interfacing at a rate greater than ever before. The numbers of college-educated A-A doctors and lawyers has made them more socially acceptable…although in some geographic areas and among the less educated, old prejudices die hard.
There was a wonderful film produced in 1967 starring Spencer Tracy, Kathryn Hepburn and Sidney Poitier that tackled the subject of inter-racial marriage head on! In it, Tracy & Hepburn’s debutante daughter introduces her A-A Doctor boyfriend and their intention to marry. Poitier’s father…a retired postman and his homemaker mother were invited to dinner to participate in the discussion of all the problems the young couple would have to face. The bottom line conclusion of all involved was that the love the young couple had for each other was all that mattered.
Another major contributing factor to the increase in “brown,” grandkids was the Caucasian wives that A-A G.I.s brought home after the war. (The same factor was also present with Asian wives after the Vietnam War). Widespread acceptance of this trend is still a work in progress, but improving.
Interesting Reading on this subject:
•Does Race Matter for Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships?
•Raising Grandkids: The Experiences of Black & White Grandmothers
*•Neither Black nor White: Three Multiracial Generations, one family
*•I Told My Trump-Supporting Mom I’m having a Biracial Baby. Here’s what Happened
•Grandmother Receives Racist Letter Attacking Her Biracial Grandkids
•My Mother Didn’t Want Biracial Grandkids: She Thought the World Would Mistreat My Mixed Race Kids
*•Raising Biracial Children to Be Well-Adjusted
•15 Things Never to Say to Parents of Biracial Kids
*•17 Struggles of Being Mixed-Race
Hispanics are the biggest ethnic/racial minority in the U.S….17% of our population. Grandparents recognize their importance in a close family and are ready to raise their grandkids…respond in an emergency, and have a role in important decisions involving the grandkids. A study indicated only 3% of Hispanics thought racial intermarriage was a bad thing. Of 3.8 million adults married in 2008, 28% of Hispanics married a different ethnicity…too soon to have grandparent attitudes toward children of these marriages. Despite close families, in-law problems still exist; although visitation doesn’t appear to be a major issue.
For further insights:
*•The Importance of Grandparents in Hispanic Families
*•Hispanic In-Law Trouble
•Latino Culture in the United States
•Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in the United States
•Public Views on Inter-racial Marriage
•Grandparent Visitation Issues Among Hispanics
•Grandparent’s Role in Unwed Teen Pregnancy
There is limited data available on the role that Asian-American grandparents have in the lives of their grandkids. Presumably, they have to deal with many of the same issues as their Caucasian counterparts…and then some! Crime…drugs…violence…teenage pregnancy…all of these contribute to family instability. With the escalating number of mixed black/white marriages, there will be an increase in inter-racial children and Asian-American attitudes towards them.
Perhaps because this issue is so new, the numbers aren’t significant enough to see any trends. Because of the high incidence of divorce – and desertion – many Asian-
Americans are becoming surrogate “parents” to their grandkids. In such situations, the burden usually falls on the grandmother. How to deal with the complexity of this issue is a work in progress.
Some of the limited data available is as follows:
*• Challenges and Resilience in Asian-American Grandparents Raising Their
*• Why More Asian-American Grandparents are Raising Their Grandchildren
•Asian-American Grandmothers Raising Grandchildren
•Asian-American Grandpas Raising Grandchildren
•Parenthood in the 21st Century: Asian-American Grandparents as Surrogate Parents
•Grandparents Play an Important Role in Asian Families
Adopted Grandkids – American and Foreign:
Although the process of adoption is usually handled by the adopting couple, in a strong family, grandparents have a role to play. First of all, there is the issue of estate planning and how the existence of a non-blood “relative” will affect that…an important consideration. Then, there is the question of perpetuating the family name. How is that handled if there is no other male heir, but the adoptee? – a serious issue for grandparents.
There are many other factors: If the adopted child is foreign, what inherited disease might they be carrying that’s not apparent at the time of adoption? In the case of an infant, what kind of intelligence has it inherited from its birth parents? How easy…or difficult will it be for the grandparents to relate to a “stranger” in the family and how will this impact the relationship between the parents and the grandparents?
So many things to consider! That’s why I urge both the adopting parents and the prospective grandparents to review the suggested reading.
• Off and Running – Fact Sheet
• Winning Over the Grandparents-to-be
• Grandparents who show no interest in their adopted grandchildren
• 98 Interesting Facts about Adoption
• 10 Most Popular Countries to Adopt from and Their Adoption Policies
• 10 Really Shocking Facts of Child Adoption
• 3 Reactions to Bad Behavior of an Adopted Grandchild
• Grandparent Attitudes toward Foster Grandkids
• Can a Grandparent Stop an Adoption?
• Grandparents Not Accepting of Adopted Child
• In-Laws Reject the Idea of an Adopted Grandchild
• 5 Things You Need to Know if your Kids Are Adopting
• Adoption Forum: Issues with Grandparents’ Adoptive Families
Grandparents: Faith and Intermarriage:
Spiritual faith is a very personal thing. It may have had its roots in Sunday School…attending services and/or the observation of “special holidays” like Christmas, Hanukah, Easter, or Passover. One of the most important sources is one’s grandparents and the role they play in the family. (In my particular case, it wasn’t that I really enjoyed attending services. It was that I knew it gave my grandparents pleasure to see me there! Now that they’re gone, I rarely attend services, but reinforce my faith in other ways).
The source of greatest potential difficulty is a mixed religious marriage. If neither spouse converts to the faith of the other, how the grandchildren are raised in terms of faith gets complicated. For example, it would be very painful for grandparents whose daughter was raised Jewish to not have their grandson Bar Mitzvahed (confirmed) at age 13…an old, old tradition. Conversely, it would create hard feelings if a Christian grandchild wasn’t baptized.
Some spiritual advice:
•Grandparenting Interfaith Children
•The Important Role Grandparents Play
•How to Help Your Grandchildren Grow in Faith: Ideas for Grandparents
*•Twenty Ideas for Grandparents
*•How My Grandparents Taught Me to Love by Faith
*•The Case for Raising Your Child with Two Religions
**•Raising Children in 2 Faiths
*•Interfaith Marriages: A Mixed Blessing
•Common Mistakes Interfaith Couples Make
***•An Invaluable Resource for Grandparents of Interfaith Children
**•Interfaith Grandparents – On Being Both
Interracial Grandkids Marriage:
As the acceptance of same-sex marriage and gay lifestyles grow, so does a grudging acceptance of interracial grandkids. Obviously, the first hurdle that had to be crossed was the marriage of your child to another race. Responses to this are incredibly complex…with factors like where one lives, religion, occupation, education, politics, etc. playing a huge role. Whether or not hard attitudes soften with grandkids is problematic.
The following provide some perspectives:
• Are Grandparents Having a Hard Time Dealing with Their Interracial Grandchildren?
• Project RACE Grandparents
• How My BNP-voting Dad Came to Love His Mixed-race Grandson
• Role of the Black Grandmother in the Racial Socialization of Their Bi-racial Grandchildren
• Project RACE Grandparents
• I Told My Trump-supporting Mom I’m having a Baby…
With a close cousin who has attempted suicide several times throughout her life…now a widow in her sixties…I am painfully aware of the issue of suicide. Is there anything more tragic…especially by a young person…than taking their own life?
The most “fixable” problem leading to suicide is a crippling and persistent depression caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. This can usually be successfully treated with prescription drugs. But there are so many other “demons” in a young person’s mind. Persistent bullying at school…failure to live up to parental expectations…low self-esteem…lack of popularity with peers…so many important issues, but with major importance to a teenager.
Some Worrisome Statistics:
•Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among young people…4400 per year.
•At least 50% of suicides among young people are related to bullying.
•Over 14% of high school students have considered suicide and 7% have attempted it!
•10-14-year-old girls may be at higher risk.
•In 2016 there were 44,965 recorded suicides – up from 42,773 in 2014! We are currently at the highest rate in 28 years.
So…as a concerned grandparent, what can you do? Well, first of all, sensitivity to this issue should be collaboration between parents and grandparents. Caught up in the pressures of a career and family responsibilities, parents may not be as sensitive to their kids’ issues as are grandparents. If you’re close with them, they may confide in you in a way that they won’t with their parents. If you sense something’s bothering them, try to draw it out in a sensitive way. There may be problems with which you can help. Or, they may require professional intervention. But, don’t take any action without first consulting with the parents.
This is a serious national issue which has been researched and examined in an effort to prevent it where possible. To help you confront and overcome the issue impacting your grandkids, I urge you to investigate the following resources:
Sources of Help:
•Suicide Prevention Resource Center
•Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
•13 Reasons Why: An Opportunity for Prevention
•7 Steps Parents (and Grandparents) Can Take to Prevent Teen Suicide
•Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide
*•What to Do When Your (Grandkid’s) the Bully
*•Is Your Grandchild a Bully or Being Bullied?
**•Anti-bullying Help, Facts and More
There are many more that will surface when you prompt the ones listed above.
Grandparents/Unwed Teen Pregnancy:
Before proceeding, the reader should remember that the young girl is not alone in this. The prospective “father” has played a very large role. Simplistically stated, there are only 3 major alternatives in an unwed teen pregnancy, as follows:
1. Have an abortion;
2. Have the child and put it up for adoption;
3. Keep the child (marry the father)? Because this is an extremely complex issue – but NOT a major problem for grandparents; I will defer to the wisdom found in the following:
*•Grandparent Role in Unwed Teen Pregnancy
*•How a Teen Pregnancy Can Affect the Grandparents
*•Becoming Grandma Too Soon: Tips for Navigating an Unplanned Pregnancy
**•Paternal Grandparents in Adolescent Pregnancy: A Handbook for Parents of Adolescent Fathers
*•Dilemma: I Don’t Think My Pregnant Granddaughter Can Cope with a Baby
Grandkids Born Out of Wedlock:
When I first read these statistics, I found them hard to believe: – 42% of births in the U.S. were to unmarried women…72% of African-American births…53% of Hispanic!!! – (2017 statistics). Unmarried childbearing rates are stable for the highly educated, but the less educated are having children out of wedlock at increasing rates. These are staggering figures for an advanced nation like the United States. They represent a large burden falling on the grandparents in these situations. How lower-educated and lower income grandparents handle this is problematic. Obviously, a larger part of the burden will continue to be assumed by social agencies.
Some insights and sources of help:
**•The New Law to Help Grandparents Raising Grandkids
***•8 Useful Resources for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
*•Trends in Unmarried Childbearing Point to a Coming Apart
•The Influence of Grandparents in Single Mother Families
•Can a Single Parent and a grandparent have shared custody?
•Tips for Grandparents Seeking Custody of Grandkids
•Living with Grandparents Can be depressing for New Moms
•The Grandparent Trap
•Paying Child Support to Grandparents
Grandkids Being Bullied – or Bullying:
Bullying in the schoolyard…and elsewhere…has been around a long time. There’s no reason to believe that it will disappear anytime soon. As long as there are mean-spirited, cowardly people among us, we’re stuck with it.
When my kid brother Bill…younger by 6 years was bullied…he would identify the culprit and I would confront him and describe what I would do if it happened again. End of problem with no violence necessary. Unfortunately, unless the victim has an intimidating older sibling, this option is unavailable. It’s possible, of course, to give the victim boxing and/or Judo instruction combined with lectures on “standing up for yourself.”
The real harm of bullying is not the superficial cuts and bruises, BUT the emotional damage. Kids will be afraid to go to school and suffer harmful fear and anxiety. Not good! So, what can grandparents do? Confronting the bully is not appropriate or desirable for senior citizens.
But, what if the opposite is true and your grandchild is the bully? It might expose itself by the way your grandchild treats younger siblings. Having a little talk on the subject just might spare some anonymous kid a lot of grief!
Some other options are listed below:
•Bullying Prevention: A Guide for Grandparents
•Grandparents: 5 Ways to Deal with a Bully (or Bullied) Grandchild
•5 signs Your Grandchild is Being Bullied Considerable
*•How to Help a Child Overcome Bullying
•Listening to Your Grandchildren
•Bullying and Suicide: What’s the Connection?
•Bullying and Suicide – Bullying Statistics
*•Bullying Can Lead to PTSD
So…in this new era of same-sex marriage and gay pride, you’ve learned that one…or more…of your grandkids is GAY! Either you guessed…the parents told you, or…this took courage…your relationship with them was strong enough that they told you themselves.
Well…after the initial shock…surprise…(whatever!) wears off…how do you handle it in the most intelligent way? The collective advice of the “experts” is as follows:
The operative word is ACCEPTANCE! They’re not going to outgrow it and…in all probability…no one’s going to change it. So…the next critical word is SUPPORT. Never mind trying to figure out how or why it happened. Being “different” is not going to be an easy path for them so they need all the help and reassurance that they can get…especially that you don’t love them any less. Keep the channels of communication open so that they feel comfortable seeking your counsel in the many issues with which they’ll have to deal. If there’s a Gay Parade in your area, you might even think about going to that! Just don’t forget…ACCEPTANCE and SUPPORT!
•Lesbian, Gay, Bi or Trans Grandchildren
•O.K., You’re Gay. So “Where’s my grandchild?”
•Grandparenting in the 21st Century: Issues of Diversity in Grandparent- Grandchild Relationships
•Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Grandchildren Disclosure Process with Grandparents
Grandchildren and Cults:
Many grandparents are old enough to remember the “event” in Guyana in 1978 in which 900 members of a cult led by Jim Jones committed mass suicide…a horrific event! Unfortunately, too many immature young people are “brainwashed” into joining these groups. According to a 2018 article in the New York Times, the best ways to deprogram a member are to stay in touch by calling, e-mailing, writing letters, and sending photos…anything that serves to remind them of the regular world. However, don’t try to forcibly remove a disciple!
Here are some articles that delve more deeply into the subject:
*•How to Get a Family Member Out of a Cult
*•How to Help Someone who is Brainwashed
*•How to Un-brainwash Someone
•Weird Religious Beliefs
•34 Children, 110 Grandchildren, but Very Much Alone
*•The Most Dangerous Religious Cults in the World
*•Who Joins Cults, and Why?
*•Top 5 Reasons People Join Cults
*•The Cultic Phenomenon of Youths: An Educational Perspective
•My Child Has Joined a Cult!
As expressed elsewhere, be VIGILANT!
The last time you visited you were shocked to find your grandson with his left arm in a sling. “What happened?” you asked. “…had an accident with the bike you gave him,” his father replied sullenly…as if it was your fault! This came on the heels of earlier visits when she saw bruises on the boy’s face…including a black eye. The child was becoming progressively more quiet, shy, and withdrawn. Strange behavior for a 7-year-old.
She had begun to suspect that they boy’s father…her son-in-law…was physically abusing James. Even in her presence, he spoke to the child in a rough, demeaning way. She had slowly lost any affection or respect that she had originally for him. He had trouble holding onto a job and she suspected that he was an alcoholic.
So…he must be taking his frustration out on his own son. This is not an unusual situation in America…the incidence of child abuse keeps going up and much of it is unreported…a real dilemma for distressed grandparents.
Reading at least the starred pieces is a MUST!
*•When You Need to Take Action to Protect Your Grandkids
•How to Help Abused Grandchildren
*•Verbal Abuse of Children: What Can You Do About It?
•Types of Abuse
•Concerned My Grandson is Being Emotionally Abused
*•Yelling at Children (Verbal Abuse)
Grandchildren & Drugs:
As if we didn’t already have enough members of the drug “family”…now we have opioids and the expanding legislation of marijuana. We have had “The War on Drugs”…we have had “Just Say No!” and a variety of other programs. So, what do 2017 statistics from The National Institute on Drug Abuse have to say in their report entitled “Drug Facts – Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trends”? I urge you to prompt this title and report in its entirety.
The good news is that “…the survey of drug use and attitudes among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in hundreds of schools across the country continues to report promising trends with past year use of illicit drugs other than marijuana holding steady at the lowest levels in over two decades. The numbers which compare 2017 vs. 1996 are 5.8 percent among 8th graders – down from 13.1%…9.4% among 10th graders vs. 18.4%, and 13.3% among 12th graders – down from 21.6% (in 2001).
The key deterrent is constant vigilance for any signs of changes in behavior. With special focus on opioids, prescription drugs should not be stored in bathroom medicine cabinets where they are too easily accessible.
Because of the seriousness of this subject, I urge you to read all the following articles…even those that address the terrible possibility that your grandchild might be a dealer!
*•Talking to Your Child about Drugs
•Why Kids Use Drugs
•Drug Prevention Tips for Every age, from Toddlers to Young Adults
*•The Drug Talk: 7 New Tips for Today’s Parents
*•How Iceland Got Teens to Say No to Drugs
•Debunk Drug Myths
**•4 Ways to tell if Your Teen is Using Drugs
*•Get Smart about Drugs, Utah (This is a State Program!)
*•I Was a Teenage Drug Dealer
*•I Was a Schoolboy Crack Dealer
*•Helping Kids Avoid Opioid Addiction
Understanding a Grandparent Death:
In my discussion involving death, understanding and acceptance of the eventual passing of their grandparents should be included discreetly and sensitively. As with most other serious issues, this should not be done without the prior agreement of the parents. I cannot emphasize this point strongly enough!
If possible, the evitability of this should be woven into the focus of another death event like the loss of a pet, loss of a friend, or parent of a friend. The key point is that it shouldn’t be brought up as the main topic.
Sensitivity and response to the child’s questions are mandatory. Thinking through how you’re going to handle this IN ADVANCE is a good idea. References to “God” and “Heaven” will depend on your personal faith.
*•How Children Can Deal With the Death of a Grandparent
*•Helping Infants and Toddlers When Someone they Love Dies
•Best Funeral Poems for Grandpa
•Grandmother Death Poems
*•Grandma is Dead: 5 Tips for Talking to Children about Death
*•The Do’s and Don’ts of Talking with a Child about Death
•Taking Care of a Dying Grandparent
A Grandchild’s Death:
I include this reluctantly because it is so terrible to even contemplate. But…like everything else in life…it has to be confronted. Grief is such a unique and personal thing that most people choose to grieve in their own way rather than by suggested means.
There is one potentially harmful element associated with a death and that is ASSIGNING BLAME! In our American culture, the most frequent response in most problems or tragedies is WHOSE FAULT WAS IT! In contrast, when a business problem occurs, the first response is HOW CAN WE FIX IT?! Finger pointing doesn’t change anything and creates guilt. I encourage you to especially read “Blame the Parents” listed below.
These may help:
• Coping with the Loss of a Grandchild
• Helping a grandparent who is grieving
• The Grief of Grandparents
• The Death of a Grandchild
• Learning to Grieve/7 Stages of Grieving Death
• What Does the Bible Say About Loss of a Grandchild?
• Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s Over, Smile Because It Happened”
• I Am Grieving the Loss of a Grandchild
• Blame the Parents? Child Tragedies Reveal Empathy Decline
Where is it written that grandparents have to dote on their grandkids…to make them the focal point of their lives? Prioritizing the various factors in your life without making the grandkids #1 is not a hanging offense. After a lifetime of commitment to a job or profession, grandparents are entitled to deferred indulgence in their major personal interests…with the savings to enjoy them. They may be Bridge addicts…love to travel…or just plain have a lack of interest in infants and small children. Coping with them as parents was stressful enough. If they’re not yet retired, the stress of continuing to work and sacrificing precious leisure time to play “goo-goo” with an infant probably isn’t their idea of fun.
There may be underlying animosities between the grandparents and their kids that make visitation stressful. The most difficult part of this may be the fact that the grandkids themselves don’t have the same grandparental relationship as their friends do and wonder why. If the kids ask about it, try to give reasonable and acceptable explanations. Don’t criticize…one day they may change into the kind of grandparents you all hoped for. Maybe the solution is taking the initiative and taking the kids to visit them? Just make sure it’s a convenient time for them and plan to stay at a motel if you’re not invited to be a house guest.
•What To Do About Uninvolved Grandparents
•Mother-in-Law Makes No Effort
•6 Reasons Why Grandparents May Be Uninvolved
•When Grandma Can’t Be Bothered
Becoming a Foster Grandparent or Adopter:
For prospective grandparents whose children have disappointed them with a decision not to have a family, there are options – becoming a foster grandparent or adopting!
Foster Grandparents is a national program in the U.S. established in 1965 for the purpose of pairing senior citizens with at-risk children. There is another option that is growing – seniors adopting school-age children or teens! Depending on the circumstances involved, there are financial benefits that may be appropriate: Options to think about.
The following resources can provide an accurate overview of details:
• How to Become a Foster Grandparent
• Foster Grandparents – Supporting At-risk and Special Needs Children
• Foster Grandparent Program
• What is Senior Corps?
• Some Older Adults Are Adopting Children
• Older Youth Need Families
• Financial Aid for Scholarships for Foster Care and Adopted Children
• Too Old to Adopt? Not the Case for These Parents
You played college baseball and Tim’s catcher on his Little League Team… cooking is your passion and little Amy loves to help…George is President of his high school class and you’re a Congressman! How can a grandparent not favor one grandkid over another…especially when there’s a common interest like those?
Or…one grandchild may be smarter…or prettier, or more affectionate than the other(s). It’s tough not playing favorites under such circumstances. Research strongly suggests that the best remedy is frequently reminding yourself that overt favoritism is going to be painful and injurious to your other grandkids. Kids aren’t dumb…they’re far more perceptive than we give them credit for. Your overt favoritism translates into “…Grandma loves Jill more than she loves me!” That perception is painful to a child. So…try to be more even-handed when it comes to gifts, time spent, or hugs and kisses. Parents will undoubtedly take a dim view of conspicuous favoritism since it will create problems for them. You may still secretly favor one over another, but try to be discreet about it.
• Seriously, Stop Playing Favorites with Grandkids
• 3 Tips on Handling a Relative who Plays Favorites
• When Grandparents Play Favorites
• Grandma Plays Favorites with Grandkids
• The Struggle to Treat Step Grandchildren Fairly
• Advice for Step-Grandparents
If you’ve done a good job raising your kids, they should give you the respect you’ve earned and deserve by encouraging a wonderful bond with their children…your grandchildren. And…never forget to keep working on that relationship with your daughter-in-law. But, never forget as repeated frequently in this book, THEY are the parents…not you. Just as you did, they are going to have many issues and stresses with their first child…your first grandchild. But, don’t offer unsolicited advice and slow down/defer visits until they’re ready. Breaking these rules will NOT improve the long-term relationship. They’ll make mistakes and – hopefully – learn from them.
*•Let Your Children Raise Their Kids
• Grandparents and Parents Disagreeing – 11 Tips for Both of You
• Parenting Mistakes When your Grown Kids Mess Up Your Grandkids
Grandchildren Used as “Weapons” or “Pawns”:
“The pain of being forbidden to see or contact grandchildren! Boy…am I personally familiar with this! I will be…God willing…88 on my next birthday. I have been denied the joy and love of my only two grandchildren…a boy 15 and a girl 18. No birthdays…no bar or bar mitzvahs…no graduations…no ANYTHING!
Having tried everything without success, I have no advice to offer. Hopefully… depending on the severity of your situation…you may find some answers in the following writings:
*•Why Do Daughters-in-Law use Grandchildren as Weapons?
•Why Does a Narcissistic Grandmother use Her Grandchildren as Weapons to Her Narcissistic son (their Father)?
•Using Your Child As a Pawn Only Hurts One Person…Your Child!
•For Those Who Use Their Children as Weapons to Hurt the Other Parent…
•The Pain of Being Forbidden to See or Contact Grandchildren
With all due respect, the fact is that grandparents are often guilty of creating their own problems. “Meaning Well” is not an acceptable explanation. Preempting the control and authority of the parents just cannot be condoned. A higher grandparental SENSITIVITY to this fact would result in making a lot of unnecessary conflict disappear. THE PARENTS ARE THE “LAST WORD” ON EVERYTHING! Forget that at your peril!
In summary: It is hard for many grandparents…formerly the parents to the parents of their grandkids…to relinquish the control they once had over their former “kids!” They remember the old “shortcomings” of the new parents so the old conflicts are replayed.
Further insights and possible solutions can be found in the following:
• Grandkids of Grandparents of Grandparents Who Aren’t So Grand
• Grandparents Who Have Problems with Boundaries
• Grandparents: Rights or Privileges
• Toxic Grandparents – What To Do and How to Move Forward
• Conflicts That Can Lead to Grandparent Estrangement
Is Grandpa a Pedophile?:
Stop and think about it. Based on the laws of probability, a certain number of pedophiles are grandpas! We don’t know if they consider their own grandkids “off limits” but why take a chance? As addressed elsewhere, grandchildren should not be sleeping with grandpa…especially girls! Don’t just rule it out…be vigilant.
Here’s some must reading:
*•There Was a Dark Side to Loving Grandpa
*•My Grandfather is a Pedophile; How Can I Avoid Him?
•Could You Spot a Pedophile? Here Are the Warning Signs
*•Dear Prudence: My Father-in-Law Might Be a Pedophile
•Pedophile Grandfather of Six Caught after 11-year-old Secretly Filmed His Advances When Parents Didn’t Believe Her
•My Grandpa Was a Sexual Predator. Thank God My Parents Listened to Me
Grandparent Personal Issues:
There are a variety of personal grandparent issues that should disqualify them from interfacing with their grandchildren!! These include alcoholism, drug/opiate dependency, short temperedness, reputation for violence, and criminal behavior. Add to this, illness and infectious diseases. Could there possibly be a Pedophile risk?!
Check these articles out:
•Dealing with toxic/dysfunctional grandparents
*•At What Age is Co-sleeping with a Grandparent Considered Inappropriate?
•Children Bed-Sharing with Grandparents
•Grandparents’ Sleepover Question
Too Much Huggin’ ‘n Kissin’ Grandparents:
“To kiss or not to kiss…that is the question…” (with apologies to William Shakespeare). Most…if not all of us…have been witness to the mother-in-law that grabs her grandkids and smothers them with kisses while cooing sweet nothings! Does Grandma relish it? For sure! Does the child like it? Who knows?! Do the parents approve? Definitely NOT! Suppose your kisses resulted in the grandchild getting an illness that killed him/her. How would you feel? ’NUFF SAID – you get the point.
Some in-depth info on this subject:
*•13 Horrific Reasons not to let people kiss the baby
*•I love hugging and kissing my grandson
•Grandparents Are Too Affectionate
•Why Your Child Should Never Be Forced to Hug a Relative
•Grandparents Kissing on Lips
•Hug and Kiss Your Grandmother…Period
The “Perfect” Grandparent:
Let’s start by disagreement with the title of this column! There is, of course, no such thing as a “Perfect Grandparent!” There will always be some flaw…some imperfection in their behavior…that prevents that honor being bestowed.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t work on it. For example…don’t overdo the visits…advice…generosity…conflict with other grandparents and parents…or favoritism among the grandkids. I’m sure there are more that I’ve overlooked.
Based on experience, one of the critical qualities would be subordinating your own sensitivities to those of the parents and the grandkids themselves. The grandkids may not relate to you right away, so don’t be too aggressive. If…as infants…they cry when you hold them, don’t be offended or disappointed. Give it time and they’ll eventually get used to you.
Final Point: Don’t relocate so your new home is a block away!
•What Keeps Grandparents and Grandchildren Close?
•8 Surprising Things about Becoming a Grandparent
•5 Don’ts of Grandparenting
**•5 Challenges of Grandparenting and How to Overcome Them
*•5 Reasons to Build the Bond between Grandparents and Teenagers
*•What Keeps Grandparents and Grandchildren CLOSE
Far Away Grandparents:
I don’t know whether the old saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” is more appropriate for grandparents or their grandkids. Having too great a geographic separation sure doesn’t benefit either one. For the grandparent, too far is maybe 3 hours…or more…unaffordable airplane ticket for the grandma without a car and terrible public transportation, 5 miles across town is also a long way. This puts the far away grandparent at a distinct disadvantage in the “competition” with the other set for the favor of the kids. In fact, the parents of those located far away may favor them because they don’t show up as much.
But, there are ways to offset the mileage gap! With all the electronic devices available from e-mail to Skype, they can make sure they’re not forgotten. Gifts also transcend distance when they’re given in a positive way, if not overdone. Having the kids visit…with the excitement that goes with a new place…won’t be quickly forgotten.
You’ll find a few more ideas here:
• The Long Distance Grandparent Blues
• Grandparents and Grandkids: The Perils of Long-Distance Love
• Grandparents Moving to Be Near Grandchildren
• Grandparenting Across the Miles
• Top 10 Tips for Long-Distance Grandparenting
• 10 Creative Ideas for Long-Distance Grandparents
• The Long-Distance Grandparent Survival Guide
• Special Delivery: 10 Things to Mail to Your Grandkids
*•Turning Points in Long Distance Grandparent –Grandchild Relationship
• Becoming a Long-Distance Grandparent Broke My Heart
*•Top 10 Tips for Long-Distance Grandparenting
*•Repairing a Distant Grandparent–Grandchild Relationship
• Delightful Grandmother Quotes that Make You Smile and Grin
*•The Touching Way One Long-Distance Grandmother Stays Close to Her
Grandparent Location – Location – Location:
In the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” the gift of the father of the Bride to the newlyweds is a home right next door to his own! Not a good idea…unless you’re Greek! Moving to be close to your grandkids is only a good idea if you can control the number and length of visits…offering unsolicited advice and breaking all the parents’ rules about the kids. Suggestion: Develop some new hobbies.
Some points of view worth reading:
• Is Retiring Where your Grandchildren Live a Good Idea?
• The Long-distance Grandparent Blues
• How to Stay Close to Your grandkids When You Live Far Away
• Grandparents and Grandkids: the Perils of Long-distance Love
• Why You Should Consider Moving Away from Your Grown Kids
• The Long-distance Grandparent Survival Guide
Depending on your generosity…and your purse…gifts to grandkids can run the gamut from a coloring book and crayons to a college education. The gift may be educational or recreational, but the parents should be consulted whatever it is. If there is a significant difference between the two sets of grandparents’ ability to give, antagonisms between the two could be created or increased. Grandkids favoring one set of grandparents over the other, based on the quality/value/frequency of gifts isn’t desirable or fair. One way to avoid this problem might be for the grandparents to “collaborate” on important gifts by signing the card on the gift “from your 4 Grandmas and Grandpas.” Unless the wealthier set of grandparents is using gifts to earn the favor of the grandchild, a gift from all would be even-handed.
Other factors are as follows:
*•Gift-giving Mistakes that Grandparents Must Avoid
•Grandparents Giving: Unspoken Secrets You Must Know
*•Gift-giving Advice for a Generous Grandparent
•Grandparents Gone Wild: How to Handle Over-gifting
**•Over-gifting? Welcome to the Age of Competitive Grandparenting
*•Reader Case Study: The Case of the Over-gifting In-laws!
Grandkids and Money:
As the role of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren grows, so do the expenses involved in the relationship. It is truly a giant step from modest gifts and outings to co-signing car and student loans. Government data indicates that defaults on the student loans are rising as graduates can’t find jobs and are returning to live with parents. Just saying NO is the key word for grandparents! To risk retirement savings in this way…as well as its impact on one’s credit rating and ability to borrow for their own needs…should raise a flashing red light.
The articles below present a more comprehensive insight:
*•Student loan defaults rise – what to do now?
•The Risks of Co-signing a student loan
•Retiree Dilemma: How much to spend on Grandchildren?
•4 Money Mistakes Even Good Grandparents Make with Their Grandkids
Grandparents as Banks:
Grandparents have to deal with a great many issues, including money. They usually “chip in” when there’s a grandkid health issue…helping buy a first car…or a few bucks for some small self-indulgence.
BUT…when it comes to co-signing an education loan or a mortgage…DON’T DO IT! Rather than paraphrase this information, I include here a MUST READ ARTICLE: *The Risks of Co-signing a Student Loan. Stop…Get over it! All of these topics can be studied in depth on the Internet.
These may also help:
*•The Right Way to Help Your Grandchildren with College
•5 Easy Ways to Help Your Grandkids Pay for College
•Can I set up a 529 for My Grandchildren?
•7 Ways to Help Grandchildren with College Tuition
•Grandparents’ 529 Plan Rules
According to the 2014 Census, there are almost 70 million grandparents in the United States…up from 65 million in 2009.
Based on the collective data from the sources listed above, I have defined what can be called “The 10 Commandments for Grandparents!” Ignore them at your peril.
1. Don’t confuse your role – You aren’t the parents.
2. Don’t just “drop-in” – Call before visiting…make sure it’s convenient.
3. Don’t be over indulgent – Don’t create “wants” parents can’t afford.
4. Don’t move next door – You’ll find a way from far away.
5. Don’t ask…when we’ll make you grandparents.
6. Don’t let the kids control you – the little rascals will keep trying.
7. Don’t break parental rules – We decide diet…TV viewing, etc.
8. Don’t be too helpful with advice – You did it your way! Now, it’s our turn.
9. Don’t criticize us to kids – We want them to think we’re perfect.
10. NEVER FORGET COMMANDMENT #1.
These may not solve all the problems…but they represent a great start!
They have assumed a new identity being a source of stability for their grandkids whose world is breaking down around them. Hopefully, the negative trends will turn around. But…until such time as they do, a huge THANK YOU to those grandparents who have stepped up to play a critically important role!
Grandparents: The Future:
Divorce – Drug Addiction – Dysfunctional Families…on and on. Sadly, all of these factors are experiencing growth trends in our American culture! Those trends also signal an ever-increasing role for grandparents. By all indications, they are the most stalwart and stable part of our population. For what should be their “golden years,” they are becoming surrogate parents to their grandkids, paying for their educations, providing emotional support, and more.
And yet, a segment of this group is limited – or blocked – in their visitation rights by law! This is a terrible injustice. The solution is obvious…the law must be modified so that grandparents are not unreasonably prevented from having a loving relationship with their grandchildren.
A good starting point would be the overturn of “Troxel.” The drafting of legislation more sympathetic to grandparents…more sensitive to the constructive role that grandparents play in their grandkids’ lives is long overdue. Legislators…take note!
I know the terrible pain of being denied any contact or visitation with my only two grandchildren who are now 15 and 18 years of age. I am 87 years old and have never been permitted to see, speak, touch, or otherwise communicate with them. That is what has inspired this book.
For children to be used as “pawns” in the conflicts between family members is ugly. To replace what should be joy with cruelty is almost unforgivable!
Because…if the past wounds have any chance of healing…leading to an improved future…they must be put behind and not carried through one’s lifetime.
Easy to say…hard to do! I wish you luck.
ARTICLES ON GREAT-GRANDPARENTS
As medical science prolongs life, it has created a whole new level in the family – great-grandparents! Even if you haven’t yet reached that prestigious level, you can look forward to it with these articles:
• The Role of Great-Grandparents
• 16 Beautiful Photos Show Why Great-Grandparents Are So Special
• Here Come the Great-Grandparents
• Grandbabies: The Great Reward for Aging
• Who Is the Youngest Great-Grandparent Ever? (I’ll tell you – a 40-year-old woman, but read the article!)
• 9 Reasons Your Great-Great-Grandparents Were More Awesome Than You
BOOKS WORTH A LOOK
*1. Becoming Grandma – by Leslie Stahl
2. The Modern Grandparents’ Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to the New Rules of Grandparenting – by Dr. Georgia Witkin
3. The Grandparent Guide – by A. Kornhaben, M.D.
4. Your First Grandchild – by Peggy Vance
5. What to Expect the 1st Year – by Heidi Murkoff
6. Grandpa Rules: Notes on Grandfatherhood, the World’s Best Job
– Author: various
7. 70 Things We Love About Grandpa
8. Gransnet.com – An Internet “magazine” dedicated to needs of Seniors and Grandparents (free)
9. Considerable.com – Launched in September 2018 – a new Internet “Newsletter” devoted to Grandparents (free)
ADDITIONAL READING SUGGESTIONS
*•There’s no Innocent Way to Ask Your Son or Daughter About Grandkids (as in… “So…when are you going to make us grandparents?)
•How Grandparents Influence Grandchildren
•10 Things Grandchildren Can Learn from Their Grandparents
•My Grandparent has Dementia. How Do I Deal with This? What Can I Expect?
•8 Tunes Grandparents Don’t Get to Choose
•5 Early Signs Your Parent or Grandparent May Have Dementia
•Do You Know When Your Grandparents are Getting Senile?
•Why Children Need Grandparents
•Repairing a Distant Grandparent – Grandchild Relationship
•Healthy Grandparent/Grandchild Relationships Boost Our Overall Health
•Nurturing the Grandparent/Grandchild Relationship for Quality of Life
This book has its roots…its “inspiration” in emotional pain and frustration! Let me explain: I am almost 88 years of age, now living with my wife in Salt Lake City…retired from a position as Executive Vice President of a major New York Marketing Firm. I am a graduate of a prestigious Ivy League College. I have never had any kind of substance abuse problem.
My only two grandchildren…a boy and a girl…live with their parents in Connecticut in…my former home. I HAVE NEVER…SINCE THEIR BIRTH…EVER BEEN ALLOWED ANY CONTACT WITH MY GRANDKIDS (and that is unlikely to change! And you thought you had a problem!)
The reason for this cruelty? You’ll have to ask my daughter-in-law and I doubt she’ll be very forthcoming. The only explanation I can offer is serious emotional problems originating in her childhood and requiring periodic visits to a professional counselor. I assume that the kids must be so brainwashed that ever meeting me is a matter of total indifference. I continue to hope.
The following organizations are dedicated to addressing the various issues of interest and concern to grandparents:
1. Alienated Grandparents Anonymous:
As their brochure indicates… “Provides information and support to grandparents who feel alienated, estranged, or isolated from their grandchildren.” (A copy of their brochure and other descriptive materials are reprinted on the following pages, including membership forms.)
2. American Grandparents Association:
Grandparents.com has been succeeded by considerable.com. On its website, Considerable describes itself as “…a new website for people who are redefining what it means to grow older and are looking forward to what’s next.” You can sign up for their newsletter on its website.
As their website states… “The American Grandparents Assn. (AGA), established by GP.com, is a non-political group dedicated to enhancing the lives of grandparents and their families. With nearly two million members, the AGA recognizes that grandparenting today is like no other time in history. The AGA offers a host of services and discounts that help grandparents live their happiest, healthiest lives.”
3. Grandparents’ Rights Organization:
The stated purpose of the organization is to educate and support grandparents and grandchildren and to advocate their desire to continue a relationship that may be threatened with loss of contact…usually following family acrimony, a child being born out of wedlock, or the divorce or death of one of the parents.
4. Amazon Books:
Amazon offers a variety of books on this subject, with reader critiques.
5. Catholic Grandparents Association:
The association grew out of Grandparents Pilgrimages, where thousands of grandparents gathered in recent years, united by the same goal to do the very best we can for our children and grandchildren.
(Note: This listing is NOT an endorsement of any organization! It represents several organizations that we have encountered in our research.)
Grandparents have no agenda; they simply want the best for their grandchildren. They want them to be good, decent human beings, to know the difference between right and wrong, able to make good moral decisions, and if they go astray along the way, to be able to find their way back to a loving, forgiving, non-judgmental God.
Grandparents’ vital contribution to the family, the Church, and society was never as important as now. We are living in unprecedented times, with constantly changing social and moral values. Sometimes we feel like we are failing. We are not. We can never fail so long as we keep on doing what we are doing – praying, showing the way, and passing our Faith.
6. GoGo Grandparent: www. gogograndparent.com
This is a California-based service for grandparents needing transportation. Their phone # is 855-464-6872. Call to see if they provide service in your area. They claim to have service in over 7,000 U.S. and Canadian cities. There is a fee.
7. Grandparents for Social Action:
Mission: Educating and engaging seniors to do social action; Empowering youth to be lifelong philanthropists and social activists; creating a legacy from one generation to another. Contact: Sharon Morton – 847-477-2955.
8. Grandparents Plus: https://www.grandparentsplus.org.uk/
“Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act”
One Hundred Fifteenth Congress
United States of America
AT THE SECOND SESSION
Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday,
the third day of January, two thousand and eighteen
To establish a Federal Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the “Supporting Grandparents Raising
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) More than 2,500,000 grandparents in the United States are
the primary caretaker of their grandchildren, and experts report
that such numbers are increasing as the opioid epidemic expands.
(2) Between 2009 and 2016, the incidence of parental alcohol or
other drug use as a contributing factor for children’s out-of-home
placement rose from 25.4 to 37.4 percent.
(3) When children cannot remain safely with their parents,
placement with relatives is preferred over placement in foster care
with nonrelatives because placement with relatives provides
stability for children and helps them maintain family connections.
(4) The number of foster children placed with a grandparent or
other relative increased from 24 percent in 2006 to 32 percent in
2016, according to data from the Department of Health and Human
(5) Grandparents’ lives are enhanced by caring for their
grandchildren; the overwhelming majority of grandparents report
experiencing significant benefits in serving as their
grandchildren’s primary caregivers.
(6) Providing full-time care to their grandchildren may
decrease grandparents’ ability to address their own physical and
mental health needs and personal well-being.
(7) Grandparents would benefit from better coordination and
dissemination of information and resources available to support
them in their caregiving responsibilities.
SEC. 3. ADVISORY COUNCIL TO SUPPORT GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN.
(a) Establishment.–There is established an Advisory Council to
Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.
(1) In general.–The Advisory Council shall be composed of the
following members, or their designee:
(A) The Secretary of Health and Human Services.
(B) The Secretary of Education.
(C) The Administrator of the Administration for Community
(D) The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and
(E) The Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance
(F) The Assistant Secretary for the Administration for
Children and Families.
(G) A grandparent raising a grandchild.
(H) An older relative caregiver of children.
(I) As appropriate, the head of other Federal departments,
or agencies, identified by the Secretary of Health and Human
Services as having responsibilities, or administering programs,
relating to current issues affecting grandparents or other
older relatives raising children.
(2) Lead agency.–The Department of Health and Human Services
shall be the lead agency for the Advisory Council.
(1) In general.–
(A) Information.–The Advisory Council shall identify,
promote, coordinate, and disseminate to the public information,
resources, and the best practices available to help
grandparents and other older relatives–
(i) meet the health, educational, nutritional, and
other needs of the children in their care; and
(ii) maintain their own physical and mental health and
(B) Opioids.–In carrying out the duties described in
subparagraph (A), the Advisory Council shall consider the needs
of those affected by the opioid crisis.
(C) Native americans.–In carrying out the duties described
in subparagraph (A), the Advisory Council shall consider the
needs of members of Native American tribes.
(A) In general.–Not later than 180 days after the date of
enactment of this Act, the Advisory Council shall submit a
(i) the appropriate committees;
(ii) the State agencies that are responsible for
carrying out family caregiver programs; and
(iii) the public online in an accessible format.
(B) Report format.–The report shall include–
(i) best practices, resources, and other useful
information for grandparents and other older relatives
raising children identified under paragraph (1)(A)
including, if applicable, any information related to the
needs of children who have been impacted by the opioid
(ii) an identification of any gaps in items under
clause (i); and
(iii) where applicable, identification of any
additional Federal legislative authority necessary to
implement the activities described in clause (i) and (ii).
(3) Follow-up report.–Not later than 2 years after the date on
which the report required under paragraph (2)(A) is submitted, the
Advisory Council shall submit a follow-up report that includes the
information identified in paragraph (2)(B) to–
(A) the appropriate committees;
(B) the State agencies that are responsible for carrying
out family caregiver programs; and
(C) the public online in an accessible format.
(4) Public input.–
(A) In general.–The Advisory Council shall establish a
process for public input to inform the development of, and
provide updates to, the best practices, resources, and other
information described in paragraph (1) that shall include–
(i) outreach to States, local entities, and
organizations that provide information to, or support for,
grandparents or other older relatives raising children; and
(ii) outreach to grandparents and other older relatives
with experience raising children.
(B) Nature of outreach.–Such outreach shall ask
individuals to provide input on–
(i) information, resources, and best practices
available, including identification of any gaps and unmet
(ii) recommendations that would help grandparents and
other older relatives better meet the health, educational,
nutritional, and other needs of the children in their care,
as well as maintain their own physical and mental health
and emotional well-being.
(d) FACA.–The Advisory Council shall be exempt from the
requirements of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.).
(e) Funding.–No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated
to carry out this Act.
(f) Sunset.–The Advisory Council shall terminate on the date that
is 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act.
SEC. 4. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Advisory council.–In this Act, the term “Advisory
Council” means the Advisory Council to Support Grandparents
Raising Grandchildren that is established under section 3.
(2) Appropriate committees.–In this Act, the term
“appropriate committees” means the following:
(A) The Special Committee on Aging of the Senate.
(B) The Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
of the Senate.
(C) The Committee on Education and the Workforce of the
House of Representatives.
(D) The Committee on Energy and Commerce of the House of
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.
A SURPRISE INVITATION.
If you’ve found the articles referenced in this book of value, we’ve got great news! Body copy: Starting Feb. 1st…using a dedicated web-site…we will post quarterly a minimum of 6 headlines for articles of interest and value to grandparents…a total of 24or more over a year. An annual subscription…start date Feb 1st…will be only $10.
BUT we are offering a 50% discount for paid subscriptions made by Feb 1st!! To subscribe, simply prompt http://4ugranny.com with your payment on PayPal or a credit card. The response system will transmit the new titles back to your website or email address and repeat the process every 3 months for a year.
Don’t wait…register your subscription NOW! HAPPY GRANDPARENTING!
So, in summary, the book holds access to over 300 articles of interest and value to grandparents. All the reader needs to do is prompt the title on his/her device and will deliver the entire article
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