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Parenting the second time around

Years ago, you might have looked forward to this period of your life as a time to relax, travel or enjoy your hobbies. And now here you are again, raising children—your grandchildren!

Grandparents take over the care of their grandchildren for any number of reasons, such as when parents divorce, a child is being neglected or a parent has a substance abuse problem.

Raising your grandchildren is an honorable commitment and can be fulfilling. But knowing that you’re doing the right thing doesn’t always help in times of stress. You’re no doubt facing an increased financial burden as well as new demands on your time and energy. Maybe you have questions about custody and guardianship, financial benefits, child care, schools and medical care. You and your grandchildren may need emotional support. You may even be struggling with depression.

You don’t have to go it alone. It’s important that you get the proper support and assistance to meet these new challenges. Ask your doctor, clergy, school and local social service agencies to direct you to services and programs for grandparents raising their grandchildren. It’s also a good idea to join a support group where you can share your experiences, get advice and share information.

Make your emotional and physical health a priority by getting help. Maintain a healthy diet, get regular exercise and look for stress relief through activities you find relaxing or enjoyable. A spiritual connection can also provide strength during trying moments. And remember, by taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to take care of your grandchildren.