Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Instead of Retiring

Grandparents are Raising Grandchildren

I write this as a close friend to two sets of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. I feel so bad for them because they are not supposed to be doing this at this stage in their life. They have raised their children already. Why can't they have this time to enjoy the memories of that and basically do what they want to do. They have earned it. But instead they are changing dirty diapers and getting up at all hours of the night to take care of their grandchildren.


How Many Grandparents are Raising Grandchildren?

The last United States census showed that 4.9 million grandchildren were living with their grandparents. Some of those are with their parents but many are not. This number is believed to be so high because of the economy and families having to move in with one another to make ends meet. For that I agree. Work together and make things happen for the benefit of the whole family. I disagree with grandchildren being dropped off with their grandparents and being left because mom and dad did not feel like doing it anymore. This is sad. It happens way too often and I am not sure what the answer is to stop it.

My Rant on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Grandparents are not going to allow their grandchildren to go into foster care. It is their flesh and blood. I am not blaming the grandparent as I would probably do the same thing. I just wish that these young parents would think about the responsibility of raising children before they went and had one or two. I feel like children are having children these days. They either drop the babies off to let grandma raise them or they move in with their mom and dad for support while they finish school. This is all fine as long as the parent is participating in the up bringing of the child. Too many times they are not. Even when they are in the same house. They allow the grandparent to take on all the responsibility of feeding, changing, watching, playing, and teaching these babies.

Reasons for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

There are many reasons that grandparents are raising their grandchildren today. The children parents are way too young to have children and need the support of their mother and father to help them get through school. Some parents have mental disorders, are in jail, are drug addicts, or they are just not interested in raising their own children at this stage in their life. Grandparents are stepping up and throwing away their retirement to raise their grandchildren.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Should Consider

They are in this situation because they want to do the right thing. The parents in many cases are not fit to raise the children. They may be into drugs or alcohol. They may be in jail for the same. Regardless, the grandparent is in a situation where they need to protect the child. They also need to protect their rights to that child as well. They should consider some type of legal custody if they are raising their grandchild. Otherwise, the parents can flip flop back and forth on getting the child. This causes trauma to the child and heart-ache for the grandparent. Options for the grandparent to consider would be adoption, full custody, or guardianship. Each state is different and will require different things. It is worthwhile for the grandparent to research those options and make sure they choose one to protect themselves and the child.

Effects on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Many of these grandparents are resentful. They love their grandchildren very much and would not allow them to go into foster care. However, they resent the fact that they have to be doing this at this stage in their life. They should be relaxing and doing whatever they want as retired people. Not changing dirty diapers at all hours of the night. Or taking kids to school and picking them up every day. Many of these grandparents are not in good health. The burden of babies and young children on them does not improve their health any. It makes things worse. Their stress levels are increased when they should be decreased at this stage of life. The grandparent is worried about their own child and whatever issues there are and now worried about the grand baby and how things are going to turn out with that. It is not a good situation for a grandparent to be in.

On a Positive Note

There are more resources out there today for grandparents raising grandchildren than in the past. When taking legal custody or guardianship of the child, you give yourself an advantage and will have access to a lot of this help. Help with medical care and day care is available if you look for it. Again, each state is different and will have different assistance programs.

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Comments 10 comments

thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 4 years ago from India

Very interesting write up on grand parents taking care of grandchildren.

In India things are slighly different because we see many grandparents living together in the same house along with one of their children and family. I believe it is always good to have elderly people staying with us. That will help in upbringing the children.


Voted up and sharing.

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Hi thumbi7. Yes that is a little different from what I am talking about. It is good to have grandparents around and living with the family as a whole. It is not good for the grandparents to raise the children while the parents wipe their hands of responsibility or completely walk away. Thank you for reading and commenting.

cebutouristspot profile image

cebutouristspot 4 years ago from Cebu

This sight is common specially for poor family where both parents need to work in order to survive this hard times.

shampa sadhya profile image

shampa sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

Voted up and awesome!

I completely agree with you. In India too I feel that younger generation is taking the advantage of the love of the grandparents. Here it is in high ratio that grandparents are staying together but that does not mean that the grandchildren should be looked after completely by them. Grandparents should spend time with the grandchildren in a relaxing manner and not to be stressed with lots of responsibilities for which their age does not permit.

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Hi cebutouristspot - I can understand it when parents have to work and grandparents are helping and everyone is working together. My issue is with parents that are not working to support their children and expect the grandparents to raise their children for them. I grew up staying with my grandmother a lot so my mother could work. They worked together to raise me. I am ok with that. I see too many parents who are too young to have kids handing their kids off to grandma and grandpa to go off and have a good time without any thought of their responsibility with the children. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Hi shampa sadhya - yes it is bad when the grandparents are left to care for the young children. They should be able to spoil them and send them home like grandparents are supposed to do. Not have to raise them.. They have raised their children. I have friends who are left to care for young children at retirement age and it is sad. They are resentful because of it. They love their grandchildren and want them to be safe and cared for. So they step up and do it while their children run around and live the high life without and responsibility. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

Very informative and thoughtful Hub. I have friends raising grandchildren and although they're financially able it's very hard on their own health. Can't help but make one wonder about a generation that has children and takes no responsibility at all for them -- but that lack of responsibility may also be why the "gimmme intellect" is so huge in our country -- those same parents aren't taking care of themselves either. Voted up! Best/Sis

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Thanks Angela. I have two sets of friends that are raising their grandchildren and their health is not the best either. I see one of my friends struggle to take care of a 3 year old while her daughter goes out and parties all the time. No responsibility for her child. She expects her mother to take care of her child. She does not even know what it is like to have to get ready for work while a baby is pulling at you. It just bothers me to see my friends like this when they should be a little more relaxed at this stage in life. you know.. as always thanks for reading and commenting Sis..

Naima Manal profile image

Naima Manal 4 years ago from NY

It is so important for parents to be active in their children's upbringing. The role of grandparents to their grandchildren should be a respected, savored relationship that does not compromise their lives, time and affection. They should be allowed to enjoy their grandchildren and not feel overburdened or taken advantage of. They are, however, the ideal backup to the parents in times of need, but as an institution in itself, the integrity of what grandparents offer should not be compromised. This is easily done by caring for and about your children and caring about your parents. This way, when a parent really needs them, the grandparents will affectionately support them.

Very insightful hub - thanks for sharing!

angela p profile image

angela p 4 years ago from Richmond, Virginia Author

Naima Manal - thank you so much for reading and commenting. I also believe that a grandparent's role is very important. It just saddens me to see so many of my friends who are grandparents have no choice but to raise their grandchildren while their children choose to do drugs, goof off, or just be lazy. That is not right. The grandparent has no choice in the matter. Really. They do not want to see anything bad happen to their grandchildren so they step up and start acting as the parent. Thank you for stopping in.

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