Going Back to School

I often joke with the students that I work with as an outdoor education instructor that I am “Old School”.  I say, “I’m old and I’ve been to school”.  Some times they laugh.  Well, as grandparents, raising grandchildren, we have a choice to make.  Are we going to insist on being, “Old School” and parent in the same way that did our first time around, or, are we willing to go back to “school” and learn new ways of parenting and supporting our grandchildren? I am tempted to be “Old School”, but I am working on going back to school and seeking to learn.  So, what might be some of the things that I may need some education on.

First, I need to learn new and updated methods of basic parenting.  Overall, I think I was a good parent the first time around, and yet, I had some weaknesses, of course.  I struggled with consistency and setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries and limits.  I did too much protecting at times and always trying to prevent situations that might be painful for my children.  I am currently reading, “Love and Logic” that addresses those weaknesses particularly.  I still find myself making those same mistakes with Sebellah, and so, I am working on learning how to respond to her differently, that will be more in her best interest.

Second, and maybe this should be first, I need to constantly be a student of who Sebellah is.  I believe our children and grandchildren come into our lives as unique gifts, with unique talents, personalities, skills. learning styles and modes of operations.  I raised boys the first time around, so I am having to learn how raising a girl is different than raising a boy.  I need to learn how to encourage and build up Sebellah’s unique giftedness.

Third, I need to become a student of our ever changing world and the world that Sebellah grow up in.  I am fairly competent in today’s technology, and yet, I have so much to learn about that technology and the social media that will be a major part of her life.  I don’t believe that I can totally protect her from the evil’s therein, but I can be a resource for her as she learns to navigate her world.

Fourth, I need to always we aware of the impact of Sebellah’s life before she came to live with us.  In our case, we are fortunate that she came to be with us when she was only 5 months old.  And yet, those 5 months were very chaotic and traumatic.  I know that for many grandparents, their grandchildren are coming to them after many years of chaos and trauma.  It is important that we take opportunities through reading, the internet and workshops, to learn about how trauma can affect children.

These are only a few of the lessons that I and grandparents raising grandchildren, need to learn.  I like to say, “Life is a Process and that Process is Life”.  An important part of that process is the process of being a lifelong student.  When we practice being lifelong students, we benefit and those who are in our care will benefit greatly as well.

Sharing the Journey!

Pops (Rich)

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I have been involved in the field of Human Services for 30 plus years. I teach in the field of Human Services for Purdue University Global. Allene is a stay at home "Lolli", after spending many years in the Healthcare field. We have 3 adult children and in May, 2018, we adopted our granddaughter, who is 6 years-old. We have had her since she was 5 months old. At the end of 2019, we moved to Mount Airy, North Carolina, as a part of a plan to downsize and give Allene the chance to retire, and be at home full-time. We are devoted to making a difference in Sebellah's life and also in the lives of other grandparents raising grandchildren.

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