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Overcoming Guilt and Fear for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Overcoming guilt and fear can be a struggle for anyone raising children, whether it be birth parents, step-parents, adoptive parents, or grandparents. It’s so easy to question decisions and actions. We go back and rehash what might have been if we’d done something a little differently. The big question starter is always: What if…

Overcoming guilt and fear and emotional wellness tips for grandparents raising grandchildren.

For emotional wellness, we must learn to silence those questions and focus on doing our best in the moment. There is no perfect formula for raising children.

Every household is different; every family has values important to them that vary from others.

Finances and physical circumstances are different.

Living and schooling accommodations are different.

How do we navigate our situation and create an environment open to the most emotionally healthy and productive family situation as grandparents raising grandchildren?

Here are some tips to help you if you are a grandparent raising grandchildren:

1. Evaluate your specific circumstances based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

For a refresher on what they are and some good discussion of what each category encompasses, visit here.

In short, they are physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. Spend time thinking through each area from the viewpoint of self and grandchildren.

How do you intentionally create a new environment where everyone in the household can have their needs met and thrive?

2. After the above analysis, pause to identify your feelings of guilt and fear.

Relate them to the list of five basic needs.

If you are feeling guilty or fearful of particular issues, why? Is the problem genuine or only a potential problem? Is there an area you fear you cannot meet either your grandchildren’s needs or your own?

Answer questions like this and relate them directly to each need's specific need or subcategory.

3. Have an expanding list, using the information above, of areas that might be of concern along with a framework for analysis of each area.

Look closely at what is already working!

You may find that you meet many needs for yourself and those you love. Take comfort and courage from that and use the knowledge to quell feelings of fear and guilt.

What if you find areas that are lacking?

Instead of using the lack to feed feelings of fear and guilt, lay out a plan to meet the needs of yourself and your grandchildren.

Here’s an example: Maybe you feel isolated because friendships in both generations have taken a hit due to the changing lifestyle. Seek new friendships with others who might be experiencing the same transitions.

Are there support groups in your community, or could you start one? Are there playdate groups for grandchildren that you might be able to join to encourage new friendships? What about after-school activities and groups?

The truth of all parenting is that we will make mistakes.

There is no perfect parent (whether parent or grandparent) and no perfect child. Every generation learns, grows, builds on lessons learned, and does their best.

Here are some heartfelt words for grandparents raising grandchildren:

Well done for taking on this responsibility at this time of your life.

Be courageous and do your best for the sake of your loved grandchildren.

Love will overcome many mistakes and imperfect situations. That’s what young people need most of all…consistent love.

Don’t beat yourself up internally. Study, find help, pray, love bravely, and be intentional in handling this responsibility, but remember you are human and can’t always know the perfect thing to do.

We are cheering you on to success and praying for the best possible results for you and your grandchildren!


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