A friend of mine, Janet, has been raising her grandchild since infancy and now the child is in kindergarten. She sees all her friend’s mommies meet them at school and participate in activities, but she decided she didn’t want grandmother to drop her off or pick her up where her friends could see her.
Initially this situation brought a feeling of rejection to Janet. However, when things like this happen we must look on them as an opportunity to heal our children. Society tells you to own it, to accept responsibility, but I’m telling you to reject rejection and view situations like this as an opportunity to help your children heal and grow. The child was sad that she did not have a mommy like the other kids. It’s natural for kids to want their parents, but many parents are unable to care for their children so awesome grandparents are stepping up. So what do you do when your grandchild displays a tendency to distance? Here’s seven ways to help your grandchild cope.
1) Don’t take it personal.
Choose to believe in yourself. You are loved! Remember you are a person of worth and have value beyond measure. View the situation as an opportunity. In the child’s own way they are communicating something they feel about themselves and their life. It’s not personal. Meditate and pray and think of creative ways to bring the problem into their level of conversation later to see what they might really be feeling.
2) Let the child speak.
Let the child speak, in their own way. A five year old may not have adequate words for what they feel. Have them draw a picture. Ask simple questions. Give them room. Open the door of communication. This is crucial for the rest of the little one’s life, to know they don’t have to suppress emotions which later could become internalized or explosive while trying to deal with the journey of life through adolescence into adult emotions.
3) Make them feel safe.
Bathe your kids in love, and care. They simply need to feel safe and loved. The privilege of teaching them manners, respect and care for others happens as you love them.
4) Communicate with their teacher.
You and your teacher are a team. Great teachers understand and step in to help. I know ours did when we explained a few special things about Anthony, our grandson we are raising. As a grandparent you are fulfilling the role of parent. Don’t single the child out for what they have no control over, like having parents that are unable or unwilling to be there for them. Even if they call you grandma, you are fulfilling the role of mom. Being a parent is great. Being a grandparent is awesome!
5) Create activities away from school with other mothers.
These activities will become an opportunity for your child to see grandparents and parents on the same level having fun. With time and exposure they will be able to sense that others are not judgmental regarding their parent status. They may be feeling rejected themselves and seeing people accepting people will be a good step toward accepting their own position in your home.
6) Take care of yourself.
Replenish your reserves. Build yourself up. This journey has chaotic turns at times. Seek positive routes for smooth travels. Take a walk, connect with friends or support groups, or get a pedicure. Prayer and devotion time will bring a restoration to your soul. Read the 23rd Psalm. God loves you so much right now. It may take time for your grandchild to heal and display love for you the way you would like. But be careful! Don’t use the child to meet your needs. Turn to God for that and you will be healthier and happier and better positioned to love them. As you love them the love will eventually turn back to you.
7) Take it one step at a time.
Realize the answer may not come immediately. Rejection is like ringing a church bell. When you let go of the rope, the feelings may ring on for a while. But, as my pastor Josh said, let go of the rope and eventually the clanging will slow down and then stop.
You can reject the rejection and live a positive life for your grandchildren. As you sow into your kids, there will come a healthy harvest. An abundance of love, manners and respect will change their lives and you will be blessed to be part of it.