Tips For Grandparents: Extended Family of Children with Serious Illness
The Courageous Parents Network team shares our suggestions and guidelines for interacting with your adult children as they parent a child with a life-limiting condition. These guidelines also apply to other extended family, such as aunts and uncles and cousins.
Keep the focus on your child and grandchild.
This situation may be very tough on you, but don’t expect your adult children to take on your burden along with their own. Comments like, “You don’t realize what I’m going through” may not just be inaccurate; they may be hurtful. If you need a sounding board, turn to your friends or other family members. This is a time when you want to build bridges with your children and relatives—and you will need your community as much or more than ever.
If your grandchild’s condition is inherited, you may be feeling especially sad and guilty. Your child knows this, so comments like, “We feel terrible that we passed these genes on to you” are not helpful. If your child has questions about the family’s health history, answer them calmly and factually.