PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — Doctors, therapists, and law enforcement agencies all presented different information to local grandparents Tuesday night to help them better understand the conflicts their grandchildren will face in modern society.
Many families face difficulties on a daily basis, whether it’s custody issues, substance abuse or other circumstances, that leave grandparents or other relatives caring for young children in their family.
Bridging generations was the topic many family members were able to attend at Arnold High School to learn more about raising young children and even teens.
Many of the speakers in attendance say the biggest point they wanted to address was that these grandparents are not alone.
“Just letting them know we’re here to support them and to help in any way we can,” said Jean Abbott with Anchorage Children’s Home.
“The more resources they have, the more team approach it is– like the village raising the child type of concept. Any assistance they can get is part of that,” said Leanne Gaudet from Big Brothers-Big Sisters of Northwest Florida.
Another big point in the presentations was stability in the home, and knowing it’s okay to ask for help.
“I hope that grandparents leave here with different avenues of how to contact people. I love that the speakers today are offering email addresses, phone contacts, and not always depending on some online resource, but that they are offering their time,” said Bay District Schools Instructional Specialist, Jennifer Jennings.
“We definitely have kids that grandparents say ‘I don’t have the energy that I used to, can we get someone to take them outdoors, maybe to the beach or something,’ that’s definitely something that we look at. So finding out what the child’s needs are, meeting them there, then finding out the right volunteer for them,” said Gaudet.
Doctors with Emerald Coast Behavioral Hospital covered the different stages of development and that it is an ongoing process children go through continuously.
“It’s okay if they’re rebelling, that just means they’re finding their own voice. It’s no reflection on anything you did or said and they really don’t hate you,” said Dr. Biana Harbison.
If grandparents or other guardians would like assistance of any kind, they are asked to contact Bay District Schools directly.