SAFER SCHOOLS NEWS-VOL. 7
Are You Raising Your?
YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
With all the headlines about the U.S. Supreme Court hearing the case about grandparents’ visitation rights, we noticed that few people are talking about the number of grandparents who are raising their children. This is not a new phenomenon. However, the statistics are showing that it is a situation that is becoming more and more common. 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.
According to a recent Senior Citizen Group survey, 31% of adults are grandparents. Of that number, 8% are providing day care on a regular basis, and 3% are rearing a grandchild. This isn’t something that just happens to a particular race or area or social class. It happens in all socioeconomic groups due to divorce, neglect, teen-age pregnancy, the death of the parents, incarceration, unemployment , abuse , alcohol or drug usage, or abandonment. It can happen to any of us.
When grandparents take on a parental role it affects many aspects of their married life. They feel more stressed due to concerns about their own health and finances.
Housing may be an issue if they are living in a senior citizen complex. The issue of medical care for the children is difficult. There is the loss of time for themselves and their dream of retirement dies. Their social life and circle changes drastically. There is also an emotional toll. Feelings range from fear, anger, exhaustion, resentment, grief, and shame to thankfulness and joy. This type of stress can damage a marriage. It takes about a year for the average couple to make the adjustment.
Even though there are so many stresses in their lives, many grandparents report that through it all, they feel a greater purpose for their lives. Caring for their grandchildren makes them feel young and active. They say that the sacrifices are worth it.
WHAT DO GRANDPARENT “PARENTS” NEED?
- Education and information on the latest trends in parenting
- Telephone hotlines
- A break from the kids now and then (short term respite care)
- Legal and financial advice
- Support groups and/or counseling services that they can afford
- More money
- Health insurance for the grandchildren
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