By Joan Callander Dingle
7 Tips for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren (Of Drug-Addict Parents)
- Be open to learning new parenting techniques.
- Talk about birth parents and not-so-happy, as well as happy, life experiences and memories.
- Accept, rather than fight about, things that don’t matter. The color or cut of hair shouldn’t be an issue if it’s clean, as long as not a culturally negative message such as gang identification. Once youth reach the age of job interviews this may have to be re-evaluated.
- Be a parent, not a buddy. Set boundaries, consistently enforce consequences, praise out loud (only for honest effort or achievements though), and say “no” when safety or inappropriate behaviors need to be stopped.
- Meet every friend and their parents. Ask about (ignore the eye rolls and “no one else’s parents” propaganda) parental supervision, guns in the home, drugs (medical and legal recreational), screen limits on content and/or time.
- Listen before you pass judgment –things do happen that are out of your child’s control. The problem is if there is a pattern of “not my fault”. Make consequences fit the behavior. Remember grounding, or taking away a privilege grounds you too, or turns you into the warden. Better to talk about, “What could you have done differently? Or, what can you do now (like maybe call and apologize or make a list of emergency numbers to call when they can’t reach you next time and curfew looms.
- Don’t forget that miracles are all around us. Model thankfulness, kindness and having a sense of humor.
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About the author – Joan Callander Dingle
She is the author of Raising Children of Alcoholics & Drug Users