By the time you become a grandparent you have gone through a lot in life. Not only have you raised your own family but chances are that you are now helping in some manner to bring up your grandchildren.
Besides helping to bring up two families, you tend to be self-sufficient and put others before you. How doing this affects your health needs some attention. The concern here is that many grandparents are going through a lot of stress and not getting the help they need.
So when should a grandparent seek out the help of a counselor? There are four major times that a grandparent should seek one out.
Estranged Family Members
This is one of the most common reasons that grandparents go to see a counselor. This is when a grandparent becomes estranged with their son or daughter and is not allowed to see their grandchildren.
Grandparents who have gone through this have a hard time coping with their loss. Some grandparents have made comments such as “It breaks my heart every day … “ and “The feeling of loss is unbearable.”
Losing the right to see your grand kids may cause anger, sadness, or confusion and if you don’t learn to cope with it, it could lead to severe depression.
If you are experiencing this you should definitely consider counseling. They say if you become estranged that you should have a plan consisting of the following six steps.
- Write an apology
- Follow up with a phone call
- Seek mediation
- Go to counseling
- Sue for visitation rights (only if nothing else works)
- Move on
When you are raising grandchildren
Today there are over 3 million grandparents raising their grandchildren. Whether you have taken this job on willingly or have inherited it by default, you will face stresses you have never experienced before.
Some of these stresses include the financial burden of taking on these children as well as the bad blood there might be between you and your child. You may also experience fear that the grandchildren will be taken from you.
There have been a number of studies showing that grandmothers taking care of grandchildren are more likely to fall sick; some state that this is from them not having more time to take care of their own preventive care. Whatever the reason you experience stress, you should seek out a counselor to help you cope.
When you are a long distance grandparent
Two feelings may be operating here that should indicate that you should see a counselor. The first is if you are too lonely from not seeing your grandchildren on a regular basis.
The second feeling you may experience is that of jealousy. If the other grandparents live near the grandchildren you may be jealous of the time these grandparents get to spend with the grandchildren.
Experiencing either of these feelings could be detrimental to you in the long run. A counselor can help you sort out these feelings and deal with them in a more productive manner.