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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : features : features August 28, 2014

3/16/2014 6:00:00 AM
Things to consider when raising relatives' kids
West Yavapai Guidance Clinic

It is relatively common now for grandparents to be raising grandchildren. Sometimes, but certainly not always, this situation may have come about following a situation of abuse or neglect by the children's parent(s).

With April being recognized nationally by several organizations as Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is not too early to focus this Counselor's Column on some tips for grandparents who find themselves raising their kin.

When children cannot be with their parents, living with a family member may provide:

• Fewer moves from place to place

• The comfort of a familiar language, culture, and family history

• A chance to stay with siblings

• More contact with their parents, depending on the situation.

Yet, despite these benefits, the children will face some unique challenges such as:

feeling insecure and unsure that you will take care of them; acting out or challenging you; missing their parents; being anxious or depressed; and seeming too young or old for their ages.

It will take time for your relative's children to feel safe and secure in their new home with you. You can encourage these good feelings in a number of ways:

• Set up a daily routine of mealtimes, bedtime, and other activities.

• Help the children feel "at home" by creating a space just for them.

• Talk to the children, and listen when they talk to you.

• Set up a few rules and explain your expectations. Then, enforce the rules consistently.

• Reward positive behavior. When children make mistakes, focus on teaching rather than punishing.

• Be as involved with their school as you can, and encourage your children to participate in school activities.

These tips were provided through www.childwelfare.gov. Visit the site for more resources and tips for parents and guardians, and for those wanting to recognize and bring attention to April as Child Abuse Prevention Month.

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