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Monthly Archives: January 2013

What you think is ‘a parent’ may not be apparent to me

Almost thirty years ago I would have never expected to have my adult daughter and her two children living at Terry MillerGrandmother Serieshome, let alone for almost 6 years. To say this has been an adventure would be a mild understatement, but the time we’ve spent together has given me invaluable insight into what it takes to make this unique form of co-parenting within a multi-generational home be a success.

My days as a wife and mother of three have been filled to the brim with moments to remember. Many of those moments felt a little too busy and too exciting. As a family we experienced our share of joys and conflicts that transitioned the anticipation of what our life would be like into the reality. I am still amazed that three children, growing up in the same house can become such unique individuals, but in retrospect that was my goal- to raise confident,  independent children, who were true to who they are and able to care for themselves.

As our daughters and son grew up our home was always busy and full of excitement. Our oldest daughter grew up strong and eager to become independent, even of us. She excelled in almost everything she did. She was mature, well spoken, and hard working. From fourteen on she held a job and by sixteen graduated high school. By the time she was eighteen she had earned her teaching degree for cosmetology, enrolled in the local community college, and shortly after moved out into her first apartment.  Her adult life was beginning with a roaring start and without the constant restraints and rules of mom and dad’s home. Never did any of us expect this to prelude our daughter arriving home years later with a precious baby, both of them needing lots of love and support. All of our roles suddenly shifted. My husband and I were no longer simply mom and dad, but had also become grandparents and some version of co-parents for our daughter, who was now beginning to navigate unfamiliar territory as well.

The reality is our daughter is a very independent, self reliant woman who lives in our home with her two children and has to juggle the roles of single mother, working woman, college student, and daughter. Truthfully, thirty years ago I would not have been able to mother and grandmother simultaneously. It is exhausting. However, I thank God for the way He has enabled me to care for my family. In our home, each individual has a complicated role, and we are all still trying to define what is necessary in order for us to co-exist and grow in our ever evolving relationships.

We still have a lot to work on, and if you find yourself in a similar situation I guarantee the same could be said of you and your family. So far, we’ve found that in our home we need to set realistic goals and expectations of each other. It has been important for us to focus on the big picture, not pushing so hard to survive our circumstances from day to day that the childhood of my grandchildren gets lost in the moment, but rather that each day is special for them and the life milestones that they are experiencing are building a solid foundation for a successful future of their own. As we move forward, this year and in the years to come, our goal as a family is to ensure we enable each other, especially the children, to grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The simplest advice I could offer anyone else who has an adult child and their children living at home is this: it is not going to be easy or clear cut. Your role as a parent and grandparent will often be blurred. There are times that you will overstep and many more that you will bite your tongue and later regret not speaking up. You will make mistakes. You will frustrate you child, irritate you spouse, anger your other adult children (if you have them), and find yourself overwhelmed. This experience has led me to discover just how human I am. I find myself in a position of influence; some may say power, and yet feel incredibly vulnerable. Trying to balance supporting my daughter and her children, without creating an unhealthy co-dependence is a daily struggle. I am not sure if I am winning or losing today, but I am trying my best and I know God knows my intentions are pure. I love my family. I love my children and grandchildren. I am learning to rethink my definition of a family, of parenting, and by all means, grandparenting. In the end all I can be sure of is that what ‘a parent’ is to me or my daughter or for her children may not be apparent to you as you look in from the outside. That’s okay.

Terry Miller

Terry Miller has been married for 33 yrs. She received an associates degree in Christian Education of Children from United Wesleyan College. She home schooled her three children while perusing her career in retail sales and now helps out with her four grandchildren.She is the inventor of the Bouqube, www.bouqube.com a patented, do it yourself, floral designing tool for children and adults.

About My Turn Your Turn
Visit us on our official website at www.MyTurnYourTurn.com. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website that helps organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

 

Don’t Give Your Children’s Grandparents the Boot After A Divorce

I was in sales for years and I always got to speak with people on a very personal level. One thing I found amazing was how many grandparents didn’t get to see their biological grandchildren after a divorce. My heart broke as I heard their stories and saw the pain in their faces. It seems to be a common problem. Most of the time this is a result of their children’s separation or a divorce to their spouse.

I saw a movie, “In her shoes”. In that movie there were two young women who had not seen their biological grandmother since their mother died when they were very young. Their father had remarried and told the girls that it was the grandma’s choice not to see them. After finding some birthday cards that the grandmother had sent one of the sisters several years earlier, she decided to find her in Florida They ended up starting a relationship with her later in life.

It is  a great story, especially if you’re thinking about keeping your children away from their grandparents. The reality is that, if they are decent people, you are not only punishing them but you are hurting your children too. Children need all the love and support that they can get, especially in trying times during and after a separation, divorce, or even the death of a parent.

My daughter has no living biological  grandparents but she she does have my “Florida mom”, Aggie, who fills the grandma role for her. Do you have a story about your grandparents that you would like to share? Please send it to us.

Thank you,

Tracy

My Turn Your Turn
Visit us on our official website at www.MyTurnYourTurn.com and sign up for your free 30-day trial. My Turn Your Turn is a co-parenting website that helps organize families and improve communication between co-parents sharing children due to divorce or separation.  Specializing in co-parenting tools and shared parenting resources including an online custody calendar,  online divorce journal, child support tracker and more for blended families, single parents and high conflict divorce cases.

 

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How Teachers Can Help Your Child With Your Divorce

why you should tell your childs teacher about your divorceYour child’s school teacher can plan an integral role in how your child deals with your divorce.

Judith Wallerstein conducted a 25 year study for the San Francisco State University on how divorce impacts children. Consequently, her findings included that some children may show negative changes in academic performance and behavior after their parents separated. Forming a strong and united partnership with your child’s teacher can help avoid these delicate issues and lessen the impact your divorce has on your child’s school life.

Children of divorce feel a whirlwind of emotions that may include sadness, fear, anger and confusion. Because they spend the majority of their day at school, these feelings may arise at inappropriate moments during class. Teachers who aren’t aware of your divorce may wonder why your child is “acting out”. Additionally, your child may not want to share the reasons why he or she is feeling these negative emotions which will leave your teacher confused. Sharing your divorce with your child’s teacher will allow the school to offer your child available resources such as counselling.   Your child may tell his or her friends about your divorce that may lead to bullies targeting your child.  Your child’s teacher can make sure these conflicts are rectified quickly.

Schedule a phone call or an in-person meeting with your child’s teacher and tell them about your divorce. Create a plan on how to deal with any behavioral and/or academic changes that may pop up. Let the teacher know it’s okay to talk to your child about your divorce. This will lessen your child’s anxiety surrounding the divorce as it’s not a “taboo” subject.

It’s important to tell the teacher about what language you use when talking about your divorce so he or she does the same. Let the teacher know that if your child becomes stressed during school hours, your child can call you at work or home to sort things out. If there are custody arrangements, make sure your teacher knows about those as well. Finally, ask your child’s teacher about what resources are available to your child such as school counselors. Counselors are a great resource who are well-trained when it comes to how children deal with divorce. You can also schedule a meeting with them as well.

Telling your child’s teacher is an excellent way to prepare your child for divorce. Because your child spends so much time at school, he or she may experience negative emotions relating to your divorce during school hours. Telling the teacher will allow them to deal with these emotions in a positive manner and offer your child available resources.

Do you have experience in this situation? How did the teacher’s get involved? We would appreciate your insight and feedback in the comments section below.

Written by: Samantha Collier

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2013 in Divorce, Parenting

 

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