Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

For as long as grandparents have existed, it is likely that grandchildren have been making the same threat to their parents during arguments: “I’ll just move in with Granny!” Perhaps that threat worked too well. In 2011, one tenth of all children in the United States were living with a grandparent.

When most people think of retirement, they imagine traveling or checking things off a bucket list. Very few would say their dream retirement would be raising more children. But, unfortunately, because of parental drug problems, financial issues, neglect, or a multitude of other reasons, a large number of Seniors are being faced with raising their grandchildren.

With all the problems faced by grandparents raising grandchildren, the most difficult is likely explaining to the young kids why their parents are not in their life, or at best, floating in and out. There is no doubt it is a difficult thing for an adult to understand, so for children, it can be overwhelming and lead to all kinds of emotional and psychological issues. Add to that, the feeling of guilt most grandparents have, warranted or not, about having raised children who are incapable of parenting, and this is a situation fraught with emotional pitfalls. A good support group or family therapist is likely going to be necessary for quite some time.

Regardless of the downside to raising more children during their golden years, most grandparents in that position would prefer it to the alternative. Ultimately, the happiness and safety of their grandchildren are the most important things. And maybe, as those children grow into adults, they will realize what their grandparents have sacrificed and be there to help when the tables turn and they are the ones who need to be cared for.