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© Gail Underwood Parker

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Focus on Fostering: Grandparent Parents

Today's post is directed at those who are foster parenting or adoptive parenting children the age of their grandchildren.  Parent down a skipped generation is full of challenges.  I know because I am doing it.  I often laugh when I see news stories about women in their 50s who are excited to be pregnant and extol the virtues of older parenting.  I agree that their are some plusses to parenting at an age when most are grandparenting. BUT, I sometimes want to phone those women and say w-a-i-t ! ! 
 Take a moment to imagine . . .

...why menopause is not intended to coexist with pre-teen or teen angst.

... why school open houses and parent conferences do not hold the same appeal in your 60s as in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s.

... what you will encounter when you try to make friends with the parents of the school friends of your child... parents who are 20-30 years younger than you, often with verrry different values than you.

Despite all of that and far more, I recognize that the decision to parent grandchildren is often a non-decision. It so often is a choice between two difficult options, each with predictable prices to be paid financially, emotionally, and practically.

My best advice?.... recognize and learn to accept that you cannot parent the same way you did or would have in your 20s and 30s.  You will be more tired.  Your body will be less flexible.  Your relationship with your children and other grandchildren will be affected. Your energy will have smaller reserves.  Your emotions may be less resilient.  Accept all this.  Plan for it.

Take naps when you can.
Don't beat yourself up emotionally for needing extra time or space to regroup.
Build in recovery time after energy-sapping plans.
Cut yourself some slack.... maybe even a lot of slack.

And.......Celebrate when the wisdom of your years/experience make something easier or smoother or more effective!

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