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Awarded custody of our grandsons, your experiences please!

(23 Posts)
RoMo Mon 30-Dec-19 17:04:00

We have been awarded custody of our 7 and almost three year old grandsons. Both are emotionally traumatised from their chaotic lives pre our having wrestled them from their disfunctional family. Their mother died in violent circumstances six months ago and their father (our son) suffers from a severe mental illness and is unable to care for the children, their having been subjected to both physical and emotional abuse. He has basically dumped the children on us. We love them dearly and want to give them the best possible lives, full of love and security and boundaries and the best of everything but we were parents, per se, over 30 years ago and we did not expect this to happen at this stage of our lives!

From your diverse experiences, can you give us a head's up of what you think are the best that we can do?

GagaJo Mon 30-Dec-19 17:09:43

I'm so glad they have you RoMo.

What sort of advice are you looking for? My grandson and his mum live with me.

wildswan16 Mon 30-Dec-19 17:10:33

Stability, routine, calmness, gentle loving. Their emotional wellbeing is the most important thing. The older one will be going to school - but if I were you I would be led by him - if he wants to go then encourage him, but if not, then more time to settle in may be for the best.

It will take time and I am sure there will be lots of "pushing boundaries", upsets, temper tantrums and tears. Stay firmly loving through it all (with gritted teeth if necessary!).

How lucky they are to have grandparents willing to accept them into their lives.

vinasol Mon 30-Dec-19 17:10:53

I don't have any experience of this at all, but I wish you all the very best. How traumatic it must have also been for everyone. I'm sure you will get some great advice here. The children are having the chance to have a better life xxx

Yennifer Mon 30-Dec-19 17:11:34

Just love them, lots and lots of love and security. Normal healthy boundaries, exceptable behaviour. Respect them as Individuals while instilling a good moral compass and teaching them how to take care of themselves as adults with age appropriate chores. Protect them from whatever sent their dad down the wrong path in life x

Stansgran Mon 30-Dec-19 17:11:35

Well done to you and your husband. What a responsibility you have undertaken. I think there are people who have done this on here so other than wish you and the children well I'll leave space for them.

GagaJo Mon 30-Dec-19 17:21:44

I guess from what the others have said, showing stability through the gradual establishment of routines.

Meals at the table. Table manners. Bedtimes. Bath before bed. Reading to them at bedtime. Teeth brushing after meals. Putting toys away.

Seems dictatorial BUT there is safety in routines. Children like to know what is coming next. Also the niceness of warm bubbly baths. Of having nice soft pyjamas for bed. Having a teddy for bed. Someone to kiss your knee to make it better when you've fallen down. Knowing that your carer loves you. They're lucky little boys to have you. Good luck! Let us know how you're getting on.

Barmeyoldbat Mon 30-Dec-19 17:28:14

GD lived with us for nearly 4 years. We gave her a cosy, loving, safe environmen in which to grow up in. We had our ups and downs but we got through them. Your boys are lucky to have you and I am sure they will thrive with the love you give them

Smileless2012 Mon 30-Dec-19 17:35:03

I have no experience and as for advice, be with them the way you were with your own children when they were that age.

How wonderful that they had their GP's there for them and are able to have the loving and secure home you'll provide.

A wonderful way to start the new year. Best wishes to you all.

lavenderzen Mon 30-Dec-19 17:41:29

How lucky your grandsons are to have you RoMo. Lots of good advice for you from posters above. I had my two with me for a long time and as others have said routine, boundaries and love will get you through. You will know instinctively what to do despite it being so long ago since you raised your own.

The children (who are now grown up) often refer back to the times we shared together.

Lots of luck flowers

eazybee Mon 30-Dec-19 18:23:09

If the seven year old goes to school, make a friend of the SENCO, class teacher and Head teacher; seek and follow their advice. They can also give support on practical issues such as financial benefits you are entitled to claim. Many years ago I worked with grandparents who were in exactly the same situation as you, except that their grandsons were older; their father dumped them on his parents and gave them very little support; they did an amazing job.
Give them stability, unconditional love and firm boundaries. Nobody said it would be easy, but you can make such a difference to their fractured lives.

Matriark Mon 30-Dec-19 18:52:21

Well done! I endorse all of the above comments. You’ll come under pressure to take ‘special guardianship’ arrangements, and of course, you will want to do what’s best, but if you can, try and insist on proper fostering arrangements. You will benefit greatly in terms of support, training and financial benefits. You’ll have to be strong though! Good luck to you all x

NotSpaghetti Mon 30-Dec-19 18:59:55

Good advice Matriark in terms of support!
And very sincere good wishes to you and your "new little family".

TerriBull Mon 30-Dec-19 19:29:16

Yes just to echo what others have said, the boys are lucky to have such caring and brave grandparents to step up at this difficult time . Wishing you all the best hope they bring you much joy.

B9exchange Mon 30-Dec-19 19:42:30

I can't begin to imagine what you are all going through, the loss of your daughter so recently in tragic circumstances, the children have lost their mother, and effectively lost their father through mental illness. You have your own grieving to do whilst helping them with theirs, and building a new life for them at the same time.

Make use of local bereavement counselling for all of you, and once the elder one starts school, do try to make friends with other parents, and also at playgroup for the younger one. They will be a useful support and advice resource, and perhaps eventually even a babysitting circle.

As others have said, there will be plenty of tantrums and pushing boundaries, but if you are consistent they will begin to relax and realise that their life is now more stable. I wish you all the luck in the world, you deserve it! flowers

sodapop Mon 30-Dec-19 20:36:25

B9exchange has said it all really. It's a difficult and sad time for you RoMo but you are doing a wonderful thing for your grandsons. Accept help when its offered, you don't need to do everything and just take time to love and support the boys.
I wish you good luck too thanks and a wine

RoMo Tue 31-Dec-19 02:21:27

Thank you to everyone who has posted here. I really appreciate the advice. It's going to be a hard road but so long as they are happy and feel secure and loved, then I guess that we will be doing the best for them. Today the younger one was playing with his older brother. They had created a 'spy' tunnel and were clambering in and out of the balcony furniture (we are currently in warmer climes) and going a bit loopy. Of course the younger one had to go the whole hog and then fall off the settee on to a table and bash his head. Ensuing hysterics for 20 minutes and a big bump! Ice and chocolate biscuits but it's not something that we have experienced for a long time! You forget what to do in those circumstances.

RoMo Tue 31-Dec-19 02:22:42

Thanks Sodapop. Like the emoji. Mine's white. Hope that no one is looking at 7pm...

RoMo Tue 31-Dec-19 02:23:31

Thank you TerriBull.

RoMo Tue 31-Dec-19 02:30:41

GagaJo. Excellent advice. Things that we are trying to instil. They appear to have been taught nothing along these lines. Almost like feral children but they are so sweet. The older one has been pushing boundaries on a daily basis but is slowly, slowly beginning to understand what boundaries are for. Yesterday I allowed him to watch a film on Netflix. He told me it was 'Back to the Future' but was surreptitiously hiding the Kindle. I realised that it wasn't. Checked the movie. 13 plus. Told him that he was dishonest and took the Kindle away. He sat on his bed without saying anything. Today he asked me if he could watch something 'Nothing that's not for kids.' I thought that was a step forward. He'd remembered. I said he could and that I was glad that he had remembered that it was dishonest that he had lied to me. We had a much better day today...

Evie64 Tue 31-Dec-19 02:48:02

Hat's off to you! Amazing and glad that you are happy to take on your dear grandchildren. Just love them to within an inch of their life and put the boundaries in place early on, and stick to them. They are undoubtedly damaged and may show some challenging behaviours, but stick to your guns and be strong.

Lyndiloo Tue 31-Dec-19 03:24:15

What tragic circumstances for these two little boys. They are so lucky to have you! No advice to add to the above - all of which is very wise.

But just wishing you and your husband Good Luck! thanks and all blessings on you. You are doing a marvellous thing.

Starlady Sat 11-Jan-20 20:00:43

My heart breaks, RoMo, to hear of all this tragedy! Those poor boys! And, no doubt, it's hurtful for you and DH (dear husband) to see your DS (dear son) suffer from mental illness. I don't see his handing the kids over to you as "dumping" them, but rather as giving them to people he trusts to provide a safer and more loving environment that he can at this point. And, of course, bravo to you and DH for stepping up to this challenge! I know it was unexpected and must be trying, but it seems to me you have started out on a very good foot.

Haven't been in this situation, so can't give you the benefit of experience. But most of the advice others have given you sounds good to me. Especially think the idea of bereavement counseling is good, as well, perhaps, as regular counseling for the boys - and maybe for you and DH, too, to help you cope (or an in-person support group). Also, hope you keep reaching out here. Hugs!