One of the things that courts in Indiana consider when weighing custody issues is the best interests of the child. If there are circumstances affecting the child’s safety when with the parents, or other statutory conditions are present, a grandparent may be given custody. While determining whether this is in the child’s best interests, the American Grandparents Association points out that the judge will typically examine factors that include the following:
- How strong the bond is between the grandparent and the child
- How well the grandparent can meet the child’s needs
- How long the grandparent and child have had a relationship
- How the child is adjusting
If the court does award custody, HelpGuide.org points out that there are many ways that a grandparent who is raising a grandchild can foster a strong, caring relationship and contribute to the child’s physical, mental and emotional health. This includes activities that may have already been part of the relationship, such as sharing hobbies, family history and other interests. While actively planning quality time together is key, the relationship can also be enriched through daily routines. Setting boundaries and being consistent with them is essential, as well.
For grandparents who have not had full responsibility for a child in the home for some time, parenting classes may be helpful. Because the new step into the role as parent can be stressful, a support group may provide both answers and companionship with others who are in similar situations. Maintaining their own physical health is another important obligation for older adults who are taking care of a child.