Although providing care for grandchildren on a temporary basis is commonplace, there is a growing number who are now substantially responsible for raising them on a longer term basis.

Usually, this is because their children have found themselves in a situation where they are unable to care for their children. This may be due to a number of factors such as substance abuse, neglect, incarceration, mental or physical illness, family breakdown or any other form of trauma within the family unit.

Let’s look at the emotional turmoil in this situation…not just the emotions of the grandparent/carer but those of the children. It also helps to understand what is
happening in their world.

When you look at the situation through the eyes of a child, you can understand that their whole world has been torn apart. Often, the way in which they are taken is
horrendous and, in my personal opinion, is a form of abuse in itself. I know that my grandchildren were taken by Police and strangers and the fear that the older one felt took a long time for her to get over. In fact, I don’t think she will ever forget that day but is now secure enough to accept it.

Children are living proof of unconditional love and, to be removed from their mummy and daddy creates incredible fear and confusion.

Expect the children to go through a grieving process…after all, they have lost their world as they knew it. They have also lost their parents to a certain extent. This process can’t be rushed and your job as grandparent/carer is simply to be there for them during this process…just simply be there to reassure them that they will be okay.

I chose to accept my grandchildren into my care as I have worked as a youth worker in the past. Many of the children I worked with had come through the foster care system and had not been better off as a result of that system. I didn't want my grandchildren to go through what some of those kids went through. My belief is that it is a flawed system and can, in some cases, be more detrimental than leaving the children in the care of
their parents.

I felt that I did what was right for the grandchildren in taking them in but I was overwhelmed by so many emotions in those early days. As with the children and their
parents, I felt my world as I knew it had been ripped asunder. Gone was my laid back lifestyle. I don’t think I realised the enormity of it all until I’d had them for a few days and then it hit like a sledgehammer.

I was also feeling that my loyalties were torn apart. I felt that my relationship with my son was suffering and that hurt a lot but I had made a commitment to his children and was determined to honour that commitment. I knew him well enough to know that he would understand eventually.

You just have to trust in your child while he/she rides out their own storm and comes to the realisation that what you have done was right at the time.

Author's Bio: 

Anne has worked in the health and welfare field for many years and is a qualified social worker. She also has a passion for writing and is particularly drawn to the subjects of family and society. She is a mother and a grandmother an is also the owner of This is primarily an information portal with the emphasis on all things family