By Karen Best Wright, www.RaisingYourGrandchildren.com
I am amazed at the number of emails I get from grandparents who are raising their grandchildren (or mostly raising them), with their biggest challenge being the parent of the child/children who lives with them as well.
This can be an extremely challenging situation in many cases. It really all depends on the grown children and the family dynamics in the home. Sometimes when the parent lives at home along with their children, they are doing so because of economic reasons and a loving atmosphere exists in the home. Other times, the grandparent actually becomes the true caregiver while the grown child parties and does not grow up.
I personally met a grandmother whose daughter and two tiny grandchildren lived with her. The grandmother did all of the care giving, taking the children to the doctor, doing laundry, meals, etc. while the daughter bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend, often bringing them home with her. The grandmother wanted to obtain custody, since she was doing everything anyway. She had no money for an attorney but was rather intelligent and went to the court house to find out what paperwork she could file herself. A guardian ad lit em was appointed for the children. Before the court hearing, the daughter simply moved out of state with the children and went and lived with her ex-boyfriend and his girl friend. I thought a bit interesting and odd. The last I heard the children's little lives did not appear very stable, moving around from place to place far from the more stable grandmother.
I know this is a horror story for many grandmothers in this situation. I do want to make sure I am not misunderstood though. Not all situations when the parent lives at home along with the children goes sour. Many young mothers are very nurturing and simply cannot afford to live on their own and need their parent's help.
Besides the grandchildren I am raising, I once had a single daughter come home pregnant. She lived with me for several months. I loved her baby, but she was nurturing and was the obvious mommy, not me. When she moved out, I did not hurt. I was happy for her. A few years later, I had the child a few months while she was getting help. When the little one went back to her, I did not hurt. Again, I was happy for her and the child. I love her child and love when I get to see him.
Unfortunately, most of the emails I get are from frightened and heart broken grandmothers. They want my advice. I wish I had good advice. If there is no obvious child abuse on the parent's part, or the parent is not obviously mentally ill, or a threat to the child, it may be hard for the grandparent to do anything but love them, pray, and have faith that there is a purpose for the path they are all on.