May is the month that we recognize and thank mothers. At Treehouse Family Services, we also celebrate the grandmothers who are serving as primary caregivers for the children in our lives.
Across the United States, over 2.7 million grandparents are raising grandchildren. For many reasons, grandparents everywhere are stepping up to the plate to meet the needs of the next generation.
Parenting a second time is full of unique challenges and joys. According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of grandparents raising children are between the ages of 45 and 60 years old, but over 30% of grandparents serving as primary caregivers are over the age of 60. Grandmothers serving as primary caregivers may have to readjust their expectations of their later years, as they find themselves again in parent-teacher meetings or a child’s sporting events.
Grandparents serving as primary caregivers often benefit from the wisdom and knowledge of their previous experience of parenting. While every child is different, there is an element of confidence and calm because grandmothers may have raised children before.
This May, we celebrate and laud all those mothers — and grandmothers — who are raising children!
Tip 1: Take care of yourself
Go to your doctor, eat healthy, and exercise. Take a walk with a friend during school hours to maintain your physical and emotional health. Your children will be better off because you’re healthy.
Tip 2: Know when to ask for help
Raising children can be challenging at any age, and it’s true that “it takes a village.” Arrange playdates when you need a few hours to yourself or find a trusted friend to confide in if you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you’re seeing more concerning symptoms in your child, you may consider reaching out to Treehouse to see if therapy might help.
Tip 3: Give yourself credit
Attachment theory tells us that children form an attachment to a primary attachment figure. A secure attachment is important for a child to feel safe to explore the world and grow. An attachment figure was traditionally assumed to be a child’s mother, but it can be anyone who is consistent in the child’s life. If you are a grandmother primary caregiver, chances are that you’re the attachment figure. As such, the loving relationship you have with your child is vitally important to your child’s development and growth. This Mother’s Day, give yourself credit for the important emotional work you’re doing to support your child’s development.
If you are raising children, no matter who you are, you are doing important, amazing work. This Mother’s Day, we thank and applaud you!