If you are a grandparent providing care for your grandchildren, the challenges of parenting… again… can feel overwhelming. You’ve been down this road before, and you probably weren’t planning on going down this road again! Of course you love your grandchildren and you want the very best for them, which is why they are in your home. But that doesn’t mean the journey isn’t hard as well as rewarding.
No matter what the circumstances are that have brought your grandkids into your care, the challenges are the same: What can I do to give my grandchildren the best start in life? How can I help them succeed academically, socially, and emotionally? And what about me? How am I supposed to manage both the care of my grandkids as well as all of the other concerns in my life: my job, my parents, my adult children… There's so much going on!
You aren’t alone in caring for your grandchildren. Thankfully, there are many resources and partners available who can help you bring up your grandchildren. Here are some tips for teaching your grandchildren how to manage their emotions as you navigate this season.
When it comes to academic development, there are many resources out there that you already know make a difference in a child’s early development. Reading books together, practicing your math facts, and more help prepare your young children for success upon entering kindergarten, and continued reading practice throughout their primary education will bolster their success later in life.
But what about their emotional intelligence? How are you supposed to manage the temper tantrums, the name calling, the fits, the emotional outbursts, and more? There doesn’t seem to be as much out there for caregivers on how to manage these common reactions and train children to manage their emotions, and frankly, the old disciplinary tactics of our youth just made us scared and sometimes traumatized.
The Resilience Project video below provides simple tactics you can adapt in your interactions with your grandchildren to help them develop appropriate coping mechanisms, grow in maturity, and respond in a healthy, age-appropriate way to new and sometimes confusing emotional situations.
Emotional learning takes time - be patient! Adopt a resilient mindset when it comes to a child’s emotional behavior. A child who is having an emotional response to a situation is trying to figure out what to make of the situation they are in. View these as opportunities to teach children how to manage their emotions. That emotional response is a reflection of what is happening inside their brain as they are trying to process their world. You can help guide your child through those emotional outbursts as you name what they are feeling, model for them coping mechanisms for relieving the stress of a situation (such as deep breathing or other tools on the website), and give them an opportunity to process what they were experiencing and how they reacted. You are the adult with much experience on how to process the world of emotions, and they are the child, experiencing these emotions for the very first time.
For more tips about resilience, watch the video above or visit the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Ashland County’s website, which has many resilience tools on it to help your child grow into an emotionally healthy young adult.