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How should you transition into raising your grandchild?

Many may say that being a grandparent in Clarksville is so much fun because you get to be around for all of the good moments, and then once the bad behavior starts, you get to go home. Yet for more and more grandparents across the U.S., the task of raising their grandchildren is falling to them. Information shared by the Population Reference Bureau shows that as of 2010, over 5.4 million children were living in situations where a grandparent was the head of the household.

When stepping into the parental role for your grandchild, you should first accept the fact that this will likely not be the same as raising his or her mom or dad was. Societal and parental norms have changed, plus you do not share the same relationship. Yet while you need to understand how different this task will be, your grandchild must also accept that you are his or her new caregiver.

As such, it should be made very clear that you (and your spouse) are no longer the pushover grandparents, but rather the authority figures. Establishing a firm structure is what's needed, particularly if your grandchild was removed for your child or child-in-law's custody. Expect pushback initially, as he or she likely lacked structure before, but do not back down. Make it clear that you expect him or her to follow the rules.

Those rules should not only apply to your grandchild, but your child as well. As he or she is no longer functioning the role of parent (for whatever reason), he or she should not be allowed to undermine the authority that you have established.

While this advice should not be taken as legal counsel, it may go a long way to helping you and your grandchild transition to your new situation.