Grandparents Raising Grandkids
At age 48, it is easy to look back and give a shout of praise to the Lord for my two amazing daughters. Raising them as a single parent was not easy, and the times were VERY different. Circumstances have now put me in a position to raise one of my grandsons, and talk about a different world! So the challenge becomes raising a morally focused African-American male in our over-sexed, morally bankrupt society. I know that I am not alone in the struggle, so today I offer a bit of advice based on personal experience.
A Different World - Accept It and Move Forward
Hey grandparents, this is NOT the 70s, 80s, or 90s! Your grandchildren face a world where they are bombarded with over 4,000 messages a day. The majority of those messages are sexual, sensual, and/or violent in nature. Television, cell phones, tablets, school, friends, music, video games -- all of these are speaking to your grandchildren each day.
Just when you thought you were done, you find yourself back in the heat of the battle. Do not despair. The first thing you have to do is come to the reality that this is a different world, then roll up your sleeves and get to work. If you have taken on the commitment of raising our grandchild, then give it 100%!
You Are Not Your Mother's Mother!
Cookies and milk. Rocking in the chair on the porch. NOT! You are raising a child at a time when society is pushing an entitlement agenda. Your grandchildren want what they want, when they want, how they want it, and you better deliver or else. While your grandmother may have indulged you, even spoiled you as a child, you do not have that luxury. The same firm hand your parents used to deliver you safely to adulthood will work for your grandchildren.
If you were like me, my grandparent's house was where I could go to act any kind of way and still get my way. Toys and treats came in abundance and correction, not so much. My grandson is now 8 years old and trust me when I tell you that the right mix of love and discipline, including a spanking when appropriate, has made all of the difference. I discipline like my mother, not my grandmother, and that is exactly what he needs. When I am 58 and he is 18 (his pediatrician assures me that we will be 6' by the time he hits middle school), looking down at the top of my head, it is his respect that I want more than anything else. That will come because I am putting in the hard work now.
Parenting Again...Today's Reality
Are you a grandparent raising your grandchild(ren)?
The Cold Hard Facts
According to an article by Sheri Stritof for About.com, the Brookdale Grandparent Caregiver Information Project based at the University of California at Berkeley Center on Aging has said that in the last 10 years, the number of children living with their grandparents has increased by 50 percent.
Deborah Doucette, author of Raising Our Children's Children: Room in the heart, writes, "There are nearly three million grandparents raising over five million grandchildren in the U.S. -- officially. Those figures represent grandparents that have legal, physical, and financial responsibility for their grandchildren. But if you include grandparents who are head of households that include both birth parents and grandchildren, the figure climbs to seven million."
Gretchen Livingston: At Grandmother's House We Stay -- "In 2011, 7.7 million children in the U.S. – one-in-ten — were living with a grandparent, and approximately 3 million of these children were also being cared for primarily by that grandparent."
In the 2010 Census, more than 2.9 million children in the United States were being raised primarily by their grandparents – an increase from 2.5 million in 2005. More than 60% of these grandparents are still in the workforce, many being forced there by the need to provide financial support and medical insurance for the children in their custody.
In addition, 21% of primary caregiver grandparents live below the poverty line and 36% of these grandparents have been primary caregivers for more than five years.
Of grandparents who are primary caregivers, 47% are white, 29% are African American, and 17% are Hispanic.
Ladies and gentlemen, these are the cold, hard, undisputed facts and things are not getting any better.
Grandparents have experience parenting yet find that parenting their grandchildren requires a refresher in parenting skills. Culture and technology have changed and awareness and skills need to be raised to address the changes. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to get help and support!
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: The Facts
Give them God..or Give it Up!
At this point, I am going to make my boldest statement yet to grandparents raising their grandchildren. If you are not going to give them good, godly morals based on the Word of God, raise the white flag and surrender those precious souls over to our x-rated society. The idea that kids can be raised on the "50 Shades of Grey" philosophy and miraculously turn out moral giants and kings of character is laughable. Contrary to popular opinion,our grandchildren need a moral compass to help them navigate through a morally bankrupt society.
"Do the right thing" has been replaced with "It's your thing, do what you want to do" and therein lies the root of the problem. You can't change society, but you do have the responsibility to train up your grandchildren in the way they should go. If you have not done so already, establish a personal relationship with God. Once you do that, He will give you all of the wisdom, discernment, and strength you need to raise your grandchildren the right way.