A Therapist’s Suggestions for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

A couple came in recently….grandparents, wanting to discuss rules to set before their grandson moves in. They brought in a list of rules/expectations they had created. It is the best set of expectations I’ve seen…so I thought I’d share them with you.

  1. Chores. The grandson would be given a list of household chores. He had to pick, I think 3-4 that he had to do every week (or he would lose a privilege). He could also opt to do an extra chore (a bigger one, like mow the yard), for which he would be paid.
  1. Curfew. They listed their curfew times for him. Not negotiable. They allowed his curfew to be later on Friday and Saturday nights but not beyond the legal curfew.
  1. Study time. They expected a set amount of time for the youth to study, either at the dining room table or in his bedroom, with the door open.
  1. Special events (i.e., basket/football games, etc.). They expected him to let them know 2-3 days before the event, ask permission to go and if they consented, they expected him to put it on the family calendar.
  1. Civility. They expected him to say “Hello” to them upon arriving home, “Good morning”, “Good night”, and “Good bye”.
  1. Meals together. They expected him to eat 2-4 meals with them a week, depending on practices and his work schedule.
  1. Privacy. They expected him to have his bedroom door open at particular times….study time, anytime there was a girl in his bedroom, and when unknown friends were visiting (until they were known to the grandparents).
  1. Transportation. They expected him to use his bike with temperatures above 40 degrees and to ask 1-3 days ahead of time if he needed them to take him to/from or wanted the use of their car.
  1. Accidents. He is expected to report all accidents (in-home or away, minor or major) immediately and would be granted amnesty, unless the circumstances were grossly irresponsible.
  1. Doctor appointments. He must make them aware of all doctor appointments; he must go; they will be taking on the “parental part” of any treatments and he must follow-through with any doctor recommendations.
  1. Checking and savings accounts. He must open such and put them on the accounts. He must allow all checks/withdrawal to be counter-signed by them. He must put 1/3 of his paychecks in his savings, 1/3 in checking and 1/3 will be for him to spend as he wishes.
  1. Employment. He must have a part-time job, even if he plays a sport at school.
  1. Specific rules. Specific rules could be added as needed, i.e., No sitting in grandpa’s chair in the living room.

This was the most complete list I have ever seen a couple comprise. Kudos to them.