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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