Karen Best Wright, B.S., M.A., Health Educator
It seems the majority of grandparents that I meet through my online support group are raising small children. They are still at the beginning of their journey. But I have been noticing that as time goes on, I meet more grandparents (through my online support group) raising teenagers. That has personally been helpful to me, since I am raising two teenage girls, ages 14 and 16. The girls lived with me several years when they were tiny, but went back to live with their mother until this last year.
My book "I LOVE YOU FROM THE EDGES: Lessons from Raising Grandchildren" ends when the girls are with their mother. When they returned to me as teenagers, I was ill prepared. I think I was expecting to pick up where we had left off (they were 7 and 9 at the time). Wow! that was not meant to be. A lot transpires for a child in six years.
We all want to help our grandchildren adjust well to their new surroundings and life, but it often isn't that simple. Especially older kids come with many experiences we wish they had not had to endure. I don't believe my girls know anyone at school who live with a grandparent. They are highs school students. I look at some of our old photos when they were small and we were having loads of fun at the beach or on a vacation. Then I wonder, why aren't we having that much fun anymore. Well a 14 year old wants different things than a 7 year old does. Their moods are different (all over the place) and they want to be more independent, even if they aren't quite ready for what they believe is their right.
So here is to all of you raising teens. Don't think you can solve everything. I have learned that even though my girls are really good girls when considering where they could be in life, they still need others (sometimes a professional therapist) to talk to because I am too emotionally involved in our conflicts. It's okay to get to know the parents of the teens your kids want to hang out with, even if your grands think you have lost your mind. Sometimes younger parents can be a real support when you see them doing an excellent job and they actually think the way you do. It can be empowering.
Most of us have resorted to finding online support groups, just to find others who travel a similar path as we do. If interested in our online Facebook support group, you must have a FB account. We can be found at https://www.facebook.com/groups/RRCsupport/
We'd love to hear your stories of raising teen grandchildren.