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Granddaughter Moving Out
Q: I have a granddaughter who will be almost four by the time she moves with her Mom and new step-dad out on their own. My granddaughter is extremely attached to me and her grandpa. This little girl, along with her Mom, has lived in our home since her birth. I have cared for her while her Mom finished high school, worked, and basically had a life. My question is, would a move completely out of state, and possibly across the nation be detrimental to my granddaughter's sense of emotional security? How can we help her make this adjustment when she is so attached to us? Sure, we are attached to her as well, but somehow we'll find a way to deal with our loss. I'm more concerned with helping my granddaughter deal with her loss of us in her daily life.
A: Your granddaughter will dearly miss you both. It appears you may have parented her more than her mom during these early years. That's fine if this arrangement was one you and your daughter decided was best. I hope she didn't exploit you while neglecting her responsibilities as a mother.
Now your granddaughter will leave this loving environment you created for her and travel to a new adventure with her mom and step-dad. A move far away should not sentence your granddaughter to a life of emotional insecurity. Framing the move in the most favorable manner possible is a must. Be gratified and take great comfort in knowing that you have raised a delightful, secure, loved, little girl. I hope your daughter and her husband have learned much about childrearing from your example.
Stay in touch with your granddaughter as much as you can - cards, calls, visits when possible. Don't let her pick up on any fear for her well-being you may have. This will worry her and make her even more disturbed about moving.
I know you'll find ways to continue to be a major, loving influence in her life. You certainly put the parent in grandparent. You gave her, and will continue to give her, the most precious gift she could receive- your unconditional love and care. Good luck to you all.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.