Ethel and Harry Oats taught their son, Royal Oates, to make good decisions in life. As Thirty-Somethings, the two parents were enjoying their life as their son attended college. However, their lives would change. Royal announced he had a son. Instantly, the couple was thrust into grandparenthood. Nothing had prepared them for this situation; they were still so young. Ethel and Harry Oates now found themselves pondering their future.
The Sudden Reality
What is it like being a young grandparent? It is an odd problem unless you have some experience in this area. How do you accept the grandparent title when you are still so young? As more young people engage in sexual activities, parents are now faced with this common occurrence. We have seen this occurrence in our own family. Today’s youth are having babies, and we are not prepared to be grannies or grandpas. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with this grandparent title. It represents a noble progression to maturity. However, pop culture has gotten it wrong and has jeopardized the family institution.
Order does matter. Look around your communities, and you will see more young parents. We wonder how they are going to raise their children because they are still babies themselves (at least as it relates to parenting). However, most sympathy goes to the young parents, not to the young grandparents. In this article, we will explore this taboo issue closer. No one asked them if they wanted this new title at their young ages (20, 30, or 40). Unfortunately, society does not know how to deal with young grandparents. Are they to be praised or persecuated? Being a young grandparent is difficult to explain to family, friends, or co-workers. Society often places blame on the parent for allowing the situation to happen.
The Truth Test
On the contrary, this culture shift is happening on a more frequent basis, regardless of a family social status. No family is exempted from it. If you have children, it can happen to you. This represents an emerging trend fueled by pop culture. Young people are encouraged to exercise all freedoms. Nothing is off limits, including sex. Affluent families have better resources to address the issues of being a young grandparent. Others are not as lucky. Many times it is the new grandparents who must raise their grandchildren and children because of the immaturity of the new parents. It can be a transformational experience for many. Below are some helpful suggestions:
- Talk to your children about making good decisions and consequences of bad ones.
- Come to grips with this new title of grandparent.
- Define what you see as your role as grandparents.
- Express yourself. Discuss your feelings with a trusted friend.
- Find a support network for young grandparents in your church or a local community groups.
- Support your children but don’t enable them.
- Enjoy your new role of grand parenting.
The Path Forward
Young grandparents are becoming more than a passing fad. Society will eventually deal with this issue. Grandparents can be a great influence on grandchildren. Making the right decision is a difficult process for young people. Unfortunately, as a grandparent, you may feel alone and believe that no one cares about your situation. Some may feel a sense of shame and embarrassment. You are not alone. Continue to be a positive influence in your family and create a model for young grandparents in the future. You are special indeed–follow the path that God has defined for you. Start today.
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