Kris Jenkins  is a University of Missouri Extension Human Environmental Sciences

Specialist. E-mail her at jenkinsk@missouri.edu

When you are put in a position to care for your grandchild, it is not unusual to experience a wide range of emotions. While you love your grandchild, taking the child permanently into your home can create social, emotional and financial issues.   This whirlwind of emotions can range from anger to disappointment, excitement to realism or indignation to resignation. You can be disappointed in your own adult child, happy that your grandchild will be safe and upset that the life you had planned is now on hold. Many grandparents just don’t know how they are supposed to feel.   These emotions can be destructive unless you learn how to cope with them. It is important to allow yourself to feel those emotions. Not only do you have that right, it is part of the process.   A good approach when you feel overwhelmed is to share your feelings with a trusted friend or counselor. Another is to find an energy outlet where you can spend time on yourself.   Take a one-step-at-a-time approach; deal with the feelings as they occur. Your grandchild’s dance recital can be an exciting event, but if your grandchild’s parent is not there, it can also be tinged with sorrow. If your adult child is a neglectful parent, you may also feel a sense of guilt and doubt your own parenting skills. Don’t let those feelings ruin the event. You are most likely not responsible for the behaviors or actions that led to your grandchild living with you.   Give yourself permission to have joy in raising these children. Let them know they make you happy. You are providing your grandchildren with a home as well as a sense of family. Stability is important to children’s lifelong success.    If you are having a hard time managing your emotions, imagine what it must be like for your grandchildren. They are probably struggling through this emotional maze as well and they do not have the life experience to know how to deal with it all.      Parenting the second time around is a challenge for adults and children. It is important to deal with the emotions and find joy in your grandchildren.   
For more information, contact Kris Jenkins, University of Missouri Extension human environmental sciences specialist at jenkinsk@missouri.edu, your local extension office at (816) 252-5051, 1106 W. Main St., Blue Springs, Mo., or visit extension.missouri.edu.