Parenting Again as Grandparents

Just when my friend and her husband were becoming empty nesters and could see retirement on the horizon, they became the guardians of three grandchildren. Because of their single daughter’s emotional instability and multiple charges of child neglect, the officials wanted to place the children in foster care. The grandparents intervened and filed for guardianship. According to recent U.S. census data, 7.1 million American grandparents are living with children under age 18, and nearly one-third of them have the full responsibility of raising their grandchildren. As with my friends, many grandparents likely question their ability to fulfill this role. Why would God give me this challenge at my age? Aren’t I too old for this? Am I equipped to deal with this? When life has brought us such a daunting responsibility, we are required to make a decision, rely on God’s strength, and then fulfill God’s will for our lives.

Making the decision

Several years after my friends became guardians for their grandchildren, their daughter lost all parental rights, and two more grandchildren came to live with them. There is no cookie-cutter answer for how to decide whether or not to raise grandchildren because no two situations are the same. But when we need to determine whether or not God has called us to parent again, we can follow the advice Jesus gave his disciples in Luke 14:28-29. He told them to “calculate the cost” before following him. Grandparents would consider not only the financial costs but also the emotional, physical, or social costs involved. We also have to consider what effect not parenting our grandchildren will have on them and us. Is God calling us to parent again, or does he want us to support our children and grandchildren in another way? If we prayerfully determine that parenting our grandchildren is God’s will for us, then we can rely on him to strengthen us for the challenges that we will face.

Meeting the challenge

Grandparents may question whether it is physically possible to parent children again. The days of midnight bottle feeding or waiting for teens to come home may be long past. Although the life spans of men and women in the Bible were very different from ours, God always seemed to be calling people to ministry in their senior years. The blessing Moses gave to Asher in Deuteronomy 33:25 was, “Your strength will equal your days.” What a wonderful place to start parenting again by asking God to give us this same blessing. If we have the physical capability to care for children, we can also ask God to give us the daily strength required for sleepless nights and days full of activity.

Enlisting support

Some days, our hearts may cry out that we can’t do it. And we would be right if we stopped our thinking there. Instead, the next thought needs to be that God can; he is the one who is doing the work in us. We have this promise, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Yet God doesn’t expect us to work alone. We have to be open to enlisting the help and support of others. The author Ann Douglas added an extension to the well-known African proverb of needing a village to raise a child. She said, “If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to support that child’s parent.” There are often other relatives, along with our church family, who can support us in prayer or provide respite care when needed. An online search for "grandparents raising grandchildren" will provide an endless array of resources available to your new “grandfamily.” Having the assurance that we are in God’s will, we meet the challenge of parenting again by claiming his strength, relying on it, and being open to receiving support from others. As God does his work in us, and through the hands of others, we can be successful parents.

Mastering the changes

As parents, we did on-the-job training, likely minus social media. Our new role of parenting will require us to willfully navigate the technology that has become central to our existence and set appropriate guidelines for its use. We can’t expect our grandchildren to be like our children, so we will have to learn things that are foreign to us. Yet, one of the blessings of parenting again is that we have a perspective we did not have before. Years of experience have equipped us with parenting skills and spiritual maturity. We also have immediate access to the wisdom God promises in James 1:5. Armed with his wisdom, we will be able to master our new roles and bring glory and honor to God.

There was a point when my friend’s husband resented having to raise children in the latter season of life. But with time and prayer, there was full acceptance of the commitment he and his wife had made as they relied on God to take them through the challenges of being parents again. Those grandchildren, now adults, were given a secure home and had the full assurance that they were loved.

About the author — Ardella Perry-Osler

Ardella is a writer with a background in teaching and educational leadership. In addition to spending many years in the public and private educational sectors, she is a Sunday School teacher and Christian Education Director. Ardella has also authored Sunday School lessons and devotionals for various publishers. Her first book, Learning to Love Olivia (2012), chronicles Ardella’s experience with her mother’s journey through Alzheimer’s. Ardella is a certified Biblical Counselor and also does volunteer work with young mothers. Her current blog, “I Need a Minute,” is at

Other programs from ReFrame Ministries:

© 2006–2024 ReFrame Ministries. All rights reserved.

Privacy Policy / Sitemap

User Experience Design by Justin Sterenberg

Web Development by Build For Humans