Grandparents raising grandkids – adventures in chaos: part one

I love my grandchildren. All seven. The add zest to my life as I’m sure your grandchildren do for you.

But, what happens when your life gets hectic? Your youngest is crying for her next feeding. Little Damon has just scrapped his knee and is looking for sympathy. Your oldest – now in fifth grade – doesn’t understand her homework and is lashing out in bitter frustration.

You’re pulling your hair out (That is, if you have any left). How you manage such chaos will either lift you up to emotional success, or pull you down to feeling like an utter failure.

So what to do?

Look back on your work experiences. Remember how you used to prioritize? You can use those skills in everyday situations like the maddening scene above.

Baby doesn’t yet understand why she can’t be fed immediately, and so should be the number one priority to calm the masses.
A scrapped knee will be alleviated by a hug, a kiss, and an, “I’m sorry you hurt your knee Damon, but you’re a big boy now. You’ll be alright.”
Now the tricky part. Your eldest is confused about the “New math” and you have no insights to offer her. You’re as clueless as she is when it comes to this bizarre, complex, confusing method of solving 23 X 35.

She’s crying, shouting, “I hate this stupid homework.” You’re desperate, but now that the baby and Damon are quiet, you are calm enough to fabricate an action plan.

Remind her that it’s only homework and not a test. If she doesn’t understand it, she can always ask the teacher for help tomorrow.
But she says she’s too embarrassed to ask for help because her friends will think she’s stupid, as she so eloquently puts it. Nothing like peer pressure to yield failure.
So, Plan “B.” Give her a few prompts to help her recall what she learned in class. Start with a simple problem, liked 15 X 4.
Have her explain to you how to solve a problem. In real life, when someone is prompted to explain something, that person will talk through the process and may better understand what she just said.

If all is lost, and there is no obvious solution, you can suggest that she (or you if she’s embarrassed) go to her teacher and ask for peer tutoring. Most schools offer this and kids pay better attention when taught by someone their same age. Type your paragraph here.

Douglas C. Atkins