Raising Grandchildren: The Fine Line of being both Grandparent and Parent to Grandchildren

baby-35723_640Whether you are a grandparent raising grandchildren, a sister raising a brother, an aunt raising a niece, etc., you will undoubtedly on occasion experience the “fine line” as I call it.

What is the “fine line”?  Well, I am a Mario’s grandmother and I am also his parent at the same time.  If I had not been raising Mario I would have been experiencing being his grandparent.  So in that case I would be having him for sleep-overs, taking him on adventures, babysitting him sometimes, and of course SPOILING him!  And then he would go home to be with his mom.

On the flip side, as Mario’s parent I am providing (or at least attempting to provide!) stability, discipline, good values and morals, emotional support, fixing boo boo’s, guiding him through everyday life, helping with homework (ugghh! That can be a tough one!) and so on.  All of those “parenty” kinds of things.

Now for the “fine line” (In case you’re still wondering what that is!).  The “fine line” is….

When I find myself being a grandmom instead of a mom, or even worse a mixture of BOTH!

Thoughts will be running through my head such as “Well, he IS my grandson and other grandmoms would buy him this toy he wants so badly, or feed him tons of candy on a visit, or give in just to see his little smile!

Then the “other” thoughts come. NO, that’s not how things are!  I can’t do these things to these things in the same way as a regular grandmom can.  Besides, that would be terribly expensive since he’s with me every day!

It’s very important to find a balance when you are caring for your grandchild or another family member’s child.

You have to put your “parenting” hat on, and try your best to keep it on.  Sometimes though that hat will fall off, and that’s okay, as long as you put it back on quickly!  It will take some practice at being the parent figure, but it does get easier with time.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s okay to be in both roles, because quite simply, you ARE!  Just roll with it and you’ll eventually find a happy medium and lean more toward the parent role.

Mario Pre-K Graduation


I would love to hear of any difficulties  and how you are trying to overcome them or any funny stories you have with your “fine line”, so please share! 

Talk soon,





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12 Comments to Raising Grandchildren: The Fine Line of being both Grandparent and Parent to Grandchildren

  1. Raising my little brother has its tough times…especially dealing with school. Sister side wants to say, “Yep, I hated my homework and teachers too.” But then I have to remember that I can’t and need to make him do his homework, then of course sit and help. It can be had to keep the ‘mom’ hat on but it is worth it. Especially, when I think of how things would be for him if I didn’t wear that hat. Great post Lori!

    • Hi Kylie,

      Wow, that is a huge life changing event, raising your little brother! It has to have been difficult to go from the big sister role to a parenting role…lots of changes for both of you. It’s definitely hard to keep the “mom” hat on at times, but it sounds like you are doing a great job, and I think it’s wonderful thing you are doing for him….he needs you and you are there. That’s what “family” is all about!


  2. Really thought provoking! I love my grand kids and yeah I get to give them back and buy the loudest toys I can find, they love em ( daughter not so keen though lol ) you are doing a great job!

    • Hi Steve,

      When my daughter was little her grandmother asked if I could bring over some toys to leave at her house for visits. Of course I had some toys…like the very loud bubble mower and some whistles and some other noisy toys! Guess who got them? lol!

      I have a few other grandchildren so I am going to take your advice and be a good grandparent to them and give them noisy toys!!


  3. Hi Lori, I am not a grandparent, but I really empathize with your dilemma. It’s hard to know where to draw the line sometimes. I’m a new step-mother to a one year old, and that’s another fine line scenario for you 🙂 I’m Mom, I’m raising him, and his real mother lives in another country. She and I are amicable, so that helps. But for all intents and purposes, I am the primary mother/care-giver along with his father. Yet, there’s always that little detail, I’m not actually Mom…I think it’s something I’ll overcome with time, as we all settle in to what our roles are in his life. We all just want the best for him, so I’m sure eventually that fine-line will become clearer to me.

    Thanks for sharing your experience in this post! Best, Marcel

    • Hi Marcel,

      I think it’s wonderful that you are taking on the role of step-mother with the attitude of wanting what is best for your step-son. He is very lucky to have you in his life! I think you will definitely overcome this with time and things will fall into place. You will be a great mom to him, and you’ll see, he will love you just as much as if you were his birth mother. (I have also been a step-mother, and I believe that treating your step-children as your own means a lot to them!).

      Wishing you and your family lots of love and happiness always!


  4. Hi Lori,

    i come from a country where being a parent to a grandchild is something every grandma should know 🙂 Unfortunately not everyone is doing such a great job like you are. Your grandchild is such a beautiful kid, i know it can be tough sometimes just know time will fly and before you know it he will grow into a handsome young man you raised right.
    Keep up the good work,

    • Hi Mary,

      It seems like these days everyone should be prepared to raise a grandchild, just in case they need to. It’s sad that some grandparents and other family members don’t handle things well, especially if they are doing this because they feel they have to. If a grandparent or relative doesn’t feel that they can give 100% to the child they are raising then maybe it would be better to help make sure the child is placed in a good home. It takes tons of love and patience but most of all a willingness to change your whole life to be a parent again.


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