Grandparents Raising Grandchildren-Committed Love

Love Comes Gently To A Hurting Heart


Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Dreams of sweet and loving grandchildren sustain us through the up all night fevers and teenage angst of the fruit of our loins. The dramas of bad grades, broken friendships, pimples and dating are replaced in our minds by the hopeful dreams of drooling grins, reaching arms and lisping voices gleefully shouting “Grandma!”

Sadly, I would even say tragically, more and more grandparents are having this dream stripped from them by becoming the primary caregiver for one or all of their grandchildren. This is an unnatural and painful situation for everyone involved. The child is unsettled; frightened by the upheaval and often traumatized by the circumstances leading up to the transfer of custody. The grandparent is worried and concerned for their own child as well as the grandchild.

Many times police and Social Services have been involved and that adds even more stress and uncertainty to the situation. These departments are staffed with well meaning people trying to do their job, get this case settled and move on to the next one. The result is a trail of bewildered people trying to pick up the pieces of lives littered by those who are supposed to fix the problems, but who have left screwdrivers and hammers behind with an instruction booklet the size of War and Peace and a word to DIY.

The grandparent who finds him or herself in this precarious predicament will struggle to gain balance in all areas of this new life and to become a parent all over again. Times have certainly changed since our own children were small. One may even have to return to work or work longer hours to support the new dependent. That in itself brings up the subject of daycare, a whole other subject worthy of its own post. How to choose a daycare provider who can be trusted with our treasures takes much research and prayer.

Many states have daycare assistance programs and many grandparents will qualify for this resource. Reduced or even free daycare benefits are an incredible blessing. The old failsafe, a Google search, can provide quick results and a list of telephone numbers to call. One may wish to start here:

National Child Care Information and Technical Assistance Center

10530 Rosehaven St., Suite 400 • Fairfax, VA 22030 | Phone: (800) 616-2242 • Fax: (800) 716-2242 • TTY: (800) 516-2242

NCCIC is a service of the Child Care Bureau (CCB), Office of Family Assistance (OFA), Administration for Children and Families(ACF), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

I strongly suggest a grandparent who is providing a home for one or all grandchildren avail him or herself of all resources. These are hard to find in a regulated form other than some state or federal financial benefits. And finances are just pin point of our needs. School age grandchildren need structure, homework help, social integration and a safe environment to start this new life.

The school system and even the way homework is done is an alien world to a grandparent. Thankfully, many online resources are available. Your child’s school website is a great place to start. Others that are highly recommended are teacher friendly and your child’s teacher can refer several. Some that I use are:


Thousands exist. It just takes time and effort to find the ones that are right for you and your child.

Time is one more area that will be in short supply. To dedicate oneself to the care of a young child requires a total lifestyle change. After a long day, many hours of work remain before rest time comes. Preparing meals takes a lot of this time.

Healthy, well prepared and presented meals are even more important for the child who has suffered a life change. The circumstances that occurred to cause him or her to be with the grandparent were obviously not ideal. The care and feeding of the young one may have been neglected also and fast food or cold sandwiches may have been provided for sustenance. Teaching a child to eat healthy, nutritious meals may be another challenge for you to overcome. A child who has never been required to sit down for family meals and thinks French fries are a vegetable will be reluctant to try spinach, broccoli and cauliflower. There are creative ways to introduce new foods to your dinner table. Some of my favorites are to puree spinach, squashes, corn, peas and beans and add them to spaghetti sauce. They can also be mixed into the child’s favorite foods without him or her noticing.

Bedtime can be challenging for caregiver and child. Sometime children can associate dangerous times from their previous life with bedtime and may be frightened. Also, it seems they tend to miss their parent more at this time. No matter what a parent has done to a child, he still desires to be with them, especially the mother. This is natural and a God designed bond between parent and child. Never, ever speak badly about the parent. Also, never lie to a child. It will come back to cause more heartache. Answer as simply and truthfully as possible and redirect the conversation. Get in the habit of reading to the child at bedtime, even if they are older. This is a bonding time that should never be wasted.

Pray with and for your child. Let him or her hear you thanking God for them and for this time together. Yes, I said your child. This is now your child as well as your grandchild. This time of change and pain also brings much joy and another chance to parent. This is not an indictment to “do it better”, but to enjoy it more and to relish every moment. The day’s woes, cares and weariness fall away when little arms slip around your neck and baby breaths whisper love to you. When you finally fall into bed exhausted, you will know you are doing well and seeing clearly all facets of this great commission of being a grandparent raising grandchildren!

There is so much to this topic that it clearly cannot be covered in a single article. I will be adding more to this Grandparents Raising Grandchildren hub in the days and weeks to come. Please come back. I hope my life experience may help you in your own life adjustment.


All photographs and text on this site are protected under United States and international copyright laws-© Brenda Barnes.

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Comments 26 comments

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 3 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hello Tina. Your story is heartbreaking. I suppose each one is. You have stood up for your granddaughter and likely saved her life. While we sacrifice what we should be experiencing, we receive so much. Bless you. You might like my blog. Thank you for stopping by.

Tina Cetrone profile image

Tina Cetrone 3 years ago from San Diego

You know me because I am the grandma that you are talking about from the beginning. In 2007 my daughter started having problems with

CPS and the unbelievable part was that the baby was with me most of the time already because of my daughter’s unstable, lifestyle and her “on again - off again relationship with the father. However; she was a smart girl gone wrong, at least she loved her daughter enough to bring her to me. Not that I condoned what she was doing but I loved them both. The problem was the gang father wanted to strip her of her daughter for spite. I had no rights to anything and I was all my granddaughter had. I spent $10s of thousands of dollars trying to keep my granddaughter safe with me and out of the system with hopes that these parents would stop doing this to her.She was four years old. My daughter recognized she might lose her daughter to her registered gang member father and decided to get on board with me. I was granted a Joinder with full physical custody. Well this was supposed to be till they got parenting right but instead, when his daughter was six years old he was killed in the street. I was crushed. My daughter was devastated and she cleaned up her act, married another and had two more children. I have told her it is time to take custody of her daughter back but it looks like my time to be old with my husband is not going to be just us. I’m tired and now I fear this little girl that is so great in school and everything she does is going to be raised by a tired old lady and old grandpa. When I go to her school (She’s 10yrs old) I look around and wonder if she notices the difference between her friend’s parents and her grandparents. I wonder if my husband will ever get the personal attention from me I want to give him. I love my kids and will never give up on them but I hope I am doing the right thing. She is turning out great!!! But it should not have cost me the money I would have given her for college. Grandparents should have more rights!!!

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hello teaches12345. It is becoming an epidemic. I sure hope this gives ideas and encouragement to many grandparents. It is a long hard road but one filled with lots of love. Thank you for the encouragement.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

We have several friends who are raising their grandchildren either in conjunction with their children or by themselves. It is a sad situation but it is much better than a child being turned over to the state for placement. Your suggestions and advice will help many who need resources in raising grandchldren. Voted up!

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hello Tamara. No, grandparents have no rights at all. There is no financial help for them to raise the children and the sacrifice is not respected at all. It is a shame because so many are giving their lives to provide a home for children they love. Those same children would be wards of the state otherwise.

tamarawilhite profile image

tamarawilhite 5 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

Do grandparents have rights to visit if their children get the kids back?

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Thank you Charlotte. I need to go back and revise this. I believe it was my first Hub. Now I have more experience and can expand and improve it. I am pleased you found it encouraging. That was my hope.

Charlotte B Plum profile image

Charlotte B Plum 5 years ago

This hub is just full of wisdom! Thank you for sharing it with us. You are such a wonderful and special grandma!

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hi MartieCoetser. It is so hard for grandparents to forfeit that special relationship and become the parent instead. You are very blessed to have two of your grands so close. With your loving heart, you would become the primary caregiver in an instant. Many grandparents won't though.I have talked to some who admit proudly that the golden years are theirs and they will not give them up for anyone. I cannot comprehend that.

But I would not change a thing. My boy and I love one another and he says I am his "sidekick." How could I ask for more?

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

Hyphenbird, I agree with your advice to grandparents who are for some reason or another obliged to be the parents of their grandchildren. But my heart goes out to them, for they are missing the most wonderful joy of grandparenthood. Most grandparents will sacrifice this for their grandchildren, as they had sacrificed their youth and freedom for their children.

I am fortunate, having the privilege to be only a grandmother. I do perform some self-enforced parental duties – two of my four grandchildren live in the house next to mine. For me to support their parents in parenthood is inevitable.

In less fortunate circumstances I will become a parent for my grandchildren, and I will enjoy the joys of parenthood all over again. But I do hope this will never be necessary. Fortunately God always bless us with whatever we need to be good and fair.

Enjoy your son!

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hi there Jaye. I intend to expand this subject into a series but finding time has proved to be a challenge. I have so much in my mind and so little time. lol

This is becoming a common scenario these days and many grandparents are giving their lives for their little loved ones. I know I would never regret one day with my treasure. Thanks for your lovely and kind comments. Have a great evening. HB

JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

What wise advice you've given, not to mention great resources for the grandparent(s) taking on what is probably an unexpected commitment. Bless all grandparents who are now doing parent duty to their children's children. As my grandma used to say, "These are stars in your crown."


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hi there Sunnie. This Hub was important for me to write. Like you said, many grandparents are finding themselves in this situation. I agree with you too about spending time with the grands. I would not change a thing! Thanks for your always gracious comments.

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Sunnie Day 5 years ago

Dear Hyphenbird,

Thank you for a tremendous hub with lots of great information. We do see more and more grandparents taking over and thank goodness they are there for the children. It can be a hardship on them too. I have been really involved with my grandson since he was born. I would not change a thing and would step up more if I needed to..I think most grandparents feel this way.Awesome hub!

God bless,


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

dianne, you are very kind. Thank you so much. Indeed I love my little man something fierce. I know he loves me too and I would not change this. I love every moment with him.

dianne 5 years ago

little man and you are so blessed to have each other. God has given yoou both a wonderful gift.i know of the great love that is in your family.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 5 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Than you ladyjane. I see so many grandparents struggling and desire to help them and to increase awareness of this situation.

Thanks for the read and comment!

Joy in Jesus, Hyphenbird

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 5 years ago from Texas

Great hub with lots of valuable information. I see that there are many granparents in the situation of having to raise their grandkids and that is really sad to me, especially when the grandparents are already senior citizens and are not used to having small children in the house. You did a good job in relating how to make the transition for the youngsters. Thanks for sharing this. Cheers.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Thank you ahorseback! This is a subject near and dear to my heart. So many lost children can be redeemed and saved through love and so many grandparents are in need of help and support!

ahorseback profile image

ahorseback 6 years ago

Now , you see , This! Is what we should all be doing , helping!!! What a perfect hub.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Thank you Janice. He has become aan integral part of my life and I cannot imagine a day without him. Just to experience his glee when he finds Waldo in a book or takes out the bad guys when playing soldier give me new strength and I know God is in the laughter of a child.

janice turnbull 6 years ago

Brenda, I still think you are an angel walking amongst us. I hope many grandparents have a chance to read this or maybe hear about this from others and can use the information you so kindly shared. You are a wonderful PARENT to your little man and he'll always love and treasure you I'm sure.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Thank you Alastar. This is is a sad trend in our society and it does not appear to be slowing down. I have so very much information on this subject that I hope can help people. I am not and cannot give therapist advice but can give life education advice.

Glad you found the article instrctive.

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 6 years ago from North Carolina

What a beautiful and instructive article.this often attributed to our culture, and if one does the research on it, one can only conclude it is not by accident.There was a time not so long ago when Blacks had a 70% two parent home and whites over 90%;now it's only 10% and 50% respectively. If it wasn't for the loving Grands in many cases these children would face a stark future indeed.Am anticipating your next article on this subject.

Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful Author

Hopefully many of them will find this Hub. Thanks for being a follower!

Beth McElwee 6 years ago

What alot of wonderful info on this subject. I know there are alot of grandparents these days doing this..I wish they could all read this

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