Whether it is through death, illness or toxic family members, there are several reasons why parents may be going it alone.
Grandparents are a huge part of grandchildren’s life and we have long known the benefits of their support. It is lovely if grandparents are active in a kiddie’s life and then you can rest assured that your children are cared for if you are busy and need to leave the kids with them.
However, as much as we may adore the idea of grandparents for some parents, they don’t have the supports for whatever reason. Whether it is through the death of parents, illness or toxic family members as well as parents living too far away, there are several reasons why parents may be going it alone.
Of course, the fear is that your kiddies will miss out on these important relationships and it is sad that they can’t have their grandparents in their life. However, with good parenting and supports, your kids can still be happy and fulfilled.
Answer your children's questions - It may not come up before your child hits school but if they are missing grandparents in their lives they may start to ask where their Granny and Granddad are. You may have to answer some difficult questions, especially around the holidays. Be as honest as possible when answering.
Ask family for help and support - They say that raising kids takes a village and yes, it is easier if you have plenty of support. Though grandparents are not in your child’s life it doesn’t mean there can’t be other people there for them. Ask extended family for help and encourage them to have a good relationship with your kids.
Build a community of friends you love like family - You don’t have to be blood-related to people you hold dear in life and your kids should know this too. Friends can offer help, support and love in place of missing grandparents. Your children should spend time with your friends and their kids too to build up your very own community. If you don’t have many friends with kids, go to playgroups, meet parents in the schoolyard and make it your business to have a loving support around you and your little ones.
Spend quality time together - You can never replace grandparents, but your kids can be delightfully happy with you. Yes, it is great to have people to support you but you, your partner and your kids are family. You get to create your whole new unit and a place for your kids to feel safe, secure and loved. It may not be perfect, but it is your world and one that you should feel grateful for. One day you might be grandparents and you will be there for your grandkids as well as your adult children.
Don’t feel guilty for feeling mad for you and your kids - It is natural that you’ll feel bad when you hear Mindy at the schoolyard telling you she is getting the weekend off as her parents are taking the kids. It will make you sad and mad in equal measures, but it is completely natural to feel like this.
Emma Hayes is a thirty-something mum of two girls aged 16 and 10, planting her right into the teenage and tween-age years! Follow her on Twitter at @EmmaHayes25.