Home / Family Articles / Help for Grandparents raising Granchildren

Help for Grandparents raising Granchildren

Help for Grandparents raising Granchildren
Loading 

Written by:

Around 200,000 children in the UK are being raised by their grandparents or other family members. This may be due to a parent’s drug abuse, imprisonment, illness or bereavement. Of course, raising your grandchildren brings plenty of rewards but also its fair share of challenges.

Negative feelings

While the advantages of having your grandchildren living with you are clear – developing a close bond, watching them grow and providing a sense of security – it’s likely that there will be other negative emotions that manifest too. You might feel scared, resentful, disappointed or even like you’re being forced into the situation. It’s important to realise that these feelings are all completely natural and you should give them a voice. Confiding in your partner, a friend or support worker will help you deal with them.

Support

You may find yourself feeling overwhelmed from time to time and it may not only be emotional support you need. This is a time where you probably imagined you’d be winding down to enjoy retirement, instead you find yourself being a full time carer to a young child. Children can be time-consuming and tiring to care for, you need to make sure you set aside time to look after yourself. Organise a play date at someone else’s house or hire a babysitter to give you some time out. Remember, you are no good to a child if you don’t look after yourself.

Allow children time to heal

In the majority of cases, children’s moving in with their grandparents is a result of a negative experience. This means, the first few months will take some getting used to as you both adjust to new living arrangements. You may find that kids play up or test boundaries so it’s important to lay down ground rules early. Kids are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for. Answer any questions they might have honestly, in a way that they can understand and let them know you’re there for them no matter what.

Contact with parents

Help for Grandparents raising GranchildrenFor some kids, contact with parents won’t be an option. However, if it is then regular contact with parents should be encouraged, particularly if there’s a chance the child may return to live with them in the future. No matter how you feel towards the parents, you should never air these opinions in front of the child.

Despite what may have happened, parent/child bonds are close and the child may become defensive. Contact with parents should be made part of a child’s routine so that they know exactly what to expect when it happens. At times, you may have to offer open arms and reassurance if things don’t go to plan or if the child is feeling a bit nervous. Even if a child seems apprehensive about meeting parents that doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t want to go. Have an open and honest chat to get to the bottom of why they’re feeling that way.

Check what you’re entitled to

If you are retired or have had to give up work to care for a child then you may find money is a bit tight. As a child’s full-time carer there are some government benefits that you may be entitled to claim. Unless you or your partner earns over £50,000 per year, you will be able to claim Child Benefit for each child living with you. The current rate is £20.50 per week for the eldest or an only child and £13.55 for each additional child. You may also be able to claim Child Tax Credit, Education Maintenance Allowance and Guardian’s Allowance as well as having income from a Child Maintenance agreement. Depending on your circumstances, Housing Benefit and Disability Allowance may also be paid.

 

 

Share

Comments

About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

View all posts by