When grandparents are responsible for the day to day care of their grandchildren they must take special precautions to be sure that the children’s rights are protected. There are a number of things that can be done to assure that the children can continue to live in a safe, nurturing environment.
Securing Legal Representation
While it must certainly feel odd to seek legal representation for a grandchild in order to protect them from bad decisions that their parents may make for them, it is an unfortunately common occurrence.
Lawyers specialising in family law are the best choice for such matters, providing invaluable advice and guidance to worried grandparents.
Whether grandparents are looking for legal permission to take temporary guardianship of their grandchildren or are seeking permanent custody, it is vital that they employ a competent attorney.
While some families choose to operate with only informal agreements between the adults, this can put the children at risk in the event that one of the parties fails to meet their obligations.
Having matters in writing affords everyone the peace of mind of knowing that the children’s best interests will be kept as the single biggest priority.
Listening to the Children
While it is sometimes impractical or impossible for children to have their way in family matters, it is still important for them to be given a voice.
Children, especially young ones, are not always capable of understanding the problems within their family, but they typically have a good grasp of how the situation makes them feel. It is common for children to love and defend their parents, even when those parents have shown themselves to be incapable of providing a proper home environment.
Children should never be made to feel their feelings are unimportant or “wrong,” but they need to be protected and provided for, just the same.
Grandparents who have taken in their grandkids must make every effort to accommodate the children’s wishes regarding involvement with their parents, except in cases where that involvement puts the children at risk.
Seeking Professional Help
Kids who have been through traumatic experiences will experience a wide range of emotions and can sometimes benefit from talking to someone outside of the family to help them get perspective.
Child psychologists and family counsellors are trained to guide children safely through their feelings, allowing them the opportunity to express themselves without fear of judgement or negative repercussions.
Often, children are hesitant to communicate their emotions because they either do not want to hurt the feelings of family members or feel that they do not want to add to the family’s burdens.
In any case, children need to have a safe outlet for their emotions, so arranging counselling sessions can be quite beneficial.
Providing Proper Documentation
Ideally, parents who are unable to care for their children would be grateful for the assistance of their own parents, but that is not always the case.
Sometimes parents who suffer from mental illness, substance abuse problems, or are abusive to their children, strongly object to relinquishing the kids into anyone else’s care.
In cases such as these, grandparents must be diligent in documenting every incident in which the children’s parents have endangered them.
While taking such extreme measures is undoubtedly difficult and awkward, it is in the best interest of the children to see that they are living in a safe and stable environment.
Grandma and Grandpa Matter, Too
The stress that is involved in caring for children can take its toll in even the best of circumstances, but for grandparents who are involved in ongoing disputes with their grown children, the difficulties are multiplied.
It is all too common for caregivers to be diligent about seeing that the children’s needs are being met while failing to look out for their own needs.
Grandparents should make every effort to schedule a bit of relaxation time for themselves, as well as seeing that their own needs for a healthy diet, exercise, and sufficient sleep are met.
Safeguarding their personal health is one way to assure that they will be able to provide their grandchildren with the very best care.