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What should I know when raising grandchildren?

Many grandparents in New Jersey find themselves caring for their grandkids full-time. While the reasons vary, the fact remains that it can be difficult for someone to jump back into the parenting role after so many years, which makes child-rearing a challenge. The following are a few pieces of advice that can help both grandparents as well as their grandchildren.

According to Creating a Family, communication is key. This can be especially hard when communicating with the birth parents, who may be experiencing drug addiction or other interpersonal issues that prevent them from parenting their own children. However, communicating honestly and setting boundaries is a must, both for your mental well-being as well as the well-being of the children in your care.

In the same token, make sure you practice proper self-care. If you’re struggling, chances are your grandchildren will struggle right along with you. While it can be difficult, make time for the things you love. This can include crafting, working out, hiking, cooking, or even just spending a quiet afternoon reading. When you’re fulfilled as a person, you’re more likely to perform your parental duties with aplomb. Taking time for yourself also greatly reduces stress and tension.

Lastly, when you’re really struggling don’t be afraid to reach out for help. If you have a caseworker assisting you, inquire about local resources, such as low-cost daycare or educational support. On a personal level, your loved ones may also be able to lend a hand, whether it’s just watching the kids for an afternoon so you can go shopping. There are even support groups composed of older adults in similar situations where you can find assistance. 

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