About 2.6 million children across America are being raised by their grandparents and the numbers continue to climb, mainly due to the opoid crisis and other factors that cause disruption to families like divorce or the death of the parents.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Are they up to the Job?
A study abstract “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Are they up to the Job?” was presented November 5, 2018 at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National Conference and Exhibition.
Study Showed that both Grandparents and Grandchildren Appeared to be Coping Well
According to the senior author of the study, Dr.Andrew Adesman, Chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics for Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, their research shows that both the children and their grandparents appeared to be coping well. This is in spite of the fact, that many of the children have gone through some bad childhood experiences and the grandparents have the challenge of also taking care of their own health and financial problems.
The researchers examined and compared 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health data from 44,807 parent-led households and 1,250 grandparent households.
Grandparents were found to be more likely to:
- Have more physical and mental health problems,
- Have incomes at or below the poverty line,
- Have lower levels of education and
- Be single.
The grandchildren were more likely to have problems like anger and anxiety and temper outbursts.
There was no difference between children being raised by grandparents and children being raised by parents when asked if anything particular done by the kids bothers them. However, both groups said they had no one to turn to for emotional support and help with their parenting.
Healthcare professionals must be ready to refer grandfamilies to counseling and support groups when necessary.
An excellent online HelpGuide for grandparents raising grandchildren has a lot of tips and support to help grandparents cope and succeed to raise their grandchildren.
What Happens when Grandparents have to Take over the Role of Parents
Grandparents often have to delay retirement, be involved in court custody cases and seek counseling. There is no more leisure time, options to travel and a feeling of independence. Once again there are the responsibilities of raising children like maintaining a home and schedule, meal planning, helping with homework, taking kids to dentists, doctors, vaccinations and counseling, which is often needed in these kinds of situations.
Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed, but the rewards are great.
Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act
According to an article in the AARP July 10, 2018, Legislation was passed called the Supporting Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Act. When parents become addicted to opoid drugs, grandparents take over, but they need help in order to maintain stability in their home, so that it will be a good environment in which to raise their grandchildren.
The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York
Grandparents may also be helping with caregiving for their own aging parents – the great grandparents. It might be necessary to look for a skilled long-term nursing care solution for your aging parents. The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse, New York offers skilled nursing care at the hands of a warm and caring staff. They also have a fantastic array of recreational activities and programs. See our blog post from July 11, 2018 for more about recreation at Van Duyn.
It is really a challenge, but there are millions of grandparents now taking on the role and responsibilities of parenting. The extra physical exercise they may be getting running after small children will pay off in better health.