The Strength of Grandparents.
We live in challenging times. Anxiety, depression, high conflict separation and divorce are all too common. When parents are at the peak of their pain, whether from a disintegrating marriage, a health scare, the loss of livelihood, struggling with anxiety or depression, or embroiled in marital conflict, their struggles for stability and strength all too often affect their children in a negative manner.
Parents turn to professional therapists, teachers, doctors and nannies for help. It occurs to me that with our teams of paid help, we often forget about one of our greatest resources— our children’s loving grandparents.
Looking around, I see and hear about Grandparents stepping up to help with their grandchildren. I see them walking their grandchildren, baby-sitting, and generally stepping up to support their adult children as they work or go out for a “date.” Musing about this phenomena in our world, I have been thinking about how we, as professionals, might harness the wisdom, love and support of grandparents within our work..
What if we, as professionals, and as a community of adults supporting children, were to invite, on a regular basis, the loving grandparents, into our consciousness, and into our offices? What if grandparents became regular guests into our offices as an integral part of our team? What if grandparents were to work with us, to create and maintain the on-going safety and security of the children? Such help could be particularly significant during times of great stress within a family.
Grandparents can offer the strength of family history and on-going, un-conditional love when parents find themselves emotionally absent or troubled. Healthy and strong grandparents, as part of the team, can provide necessary stability for their grandchildren during times of greatest instability, fear and stress.
Grandparents can offer life lessons, a shoulder to cry on, help with their homework and place of calm and joy when all seems bleak. Grandparents can provide children with stories of their family history, giving them a strong foundation in the past and faith in the future.
As a collaborative divorce coach, child specialist, and mediator, I work with the team of professionals, crafting parenting plans, providing support for vulnerable parents and children. It occurs frequently to me, that professionals, despite all of our best efforts, and with the best of intentions, can only do so much.
With much consideration, I invite readers to consider their own parents, the children’s grandparents as an unharnessed, often times unappreciated but potentially significant, but most-often strong, loving support for themselves and their children. I invite my gentle readers, professionals and lay people alike to consider how we might invite grandparents into our meetings, to work together, in an organized and specific manner, in order to tap into this loving source of strength and stability for all of our children.
I welcome your thoughts.