GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018 - 37

grandfamilies

From shock to joy-and everything in between
BY ANDREW ADESMAN, M.D. AND CHRISTINE ADAMEC

L

aurie stood in her living room sobbing. At age fifty-four, she
was in a tailspin: a few days ago, she had received custody
of her twin three-year-old grandsons, and her life changed
from calm to chaotic. This afternoon, while Laurie was attending
to David, Danny had discovered and eaten an entire box of cookies, after which he threw up all over the carpet. Laurie cleaned up
the mess while Danny was now happily banging a wooden spoon
on pots and pans on the kitchen floor. David was napping, having
fallen asleep after a temper tantrum because Laurie had no idea
where his favorite "blankie" was. Now, during a calm
moment, Laurie asked herself how she, a single
parent, could hope to handle two active boys.
Laurie's story may sound familiar. Your
life, as you knew it, is not completely over,
but it's drastically different now that you
have a grandfamily. For many grandparents in this role, becoming a parent
again was a jaw-dropping shock; for
others, it might have seemed inevitable
because of their adult children's parenting problems, whether due to
substance use, incarceration,
child neglect, or something
else.
Either way, your life
may suddenly feel like
an emotional battleground-especially when
you're new to the role.
Over time, you will adjust
to this "new normal," but
new feelings emerge as

37 GRAND

SEPTEMBER OCTOBER 2018

the children grow up and as you age too. So, let's talk about identifying and dealing with these emotions and when to seek help
from others.

Notice your feelings: some
common emotions

Grandparents describe a dizzying range of feelings as they take on
the role of parenting again, sometimes decades after raising their own
children. With so many stressors at the same time, they may feel many
emotions. Relief, for the children's sake, but also shock and role confusion as their own lives are upended. Over time, they may feel not
only depression, loneliness, and isolation but also periods of great joy
and satisfaction. Anger and resentment, often at the adult children's
inability to parent. And likely anxiety, grief, perhaps guilt. How will you
handle it all? Let's hear from some grandparents who have been there.

Relief: The child is finally safe

You may have been worrying and mentally wringing your hands
over potentially dangerous (or certainly dangerous) situations
that your grandchild has been facing, such as being alone
with parents who are abusing alcohol or other drugs or who
are mentally ill and untreated and therefore unpredictable.
(Excerpted from The Grandfamily Guidebook)

Click here to continue reading
Dr. Andrew Adesman is professor of pediatrics at the
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/
Northwell. In 2016, Adesman completed the largest
nationwide study of grandfamilies.

Christine Adamec is a self-help, health, and wellness writer
who has coauthored more than 40 books. She and her
husband are now raising a grandchild.


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GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018

Contents
GRAND Magazine - September/October 2018 - 1
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