There’s a trend in America that many people may not have noticed, but that’s having a profound effect upon our nation’s children. That trend is the significant number of grandparents who find themselves raising their grandchildren. As a society we face many ills, from substance abuse to crime, and sometimes, those ills result in a mother or father who is unable to serve as a parent.
Across the nation, 2.7 million grandparents are currently responsible for the day-to-day lives of their grandchildren. The Census Bureau adds that nearly one in five of those grandparents have incomes that fall below the poverty line. In addition, the number of grandparents raising children has been increasing steadily, up 7% since 2009.
Most grandparents are loving people who embrace this role willingly, because they understand how important it is for a child to have a stable upbringing. However, by the time most people become grandparents, their lives and their view of the world have changed dramatically. They may not have as much energy as they did when they were younger, so they may find it difficult to keep up with a youngster.
Another factor that challenges grandparents is how the world has changed since they raised their own children. Just think of the technology changes we’ve seen in the last several years. Smartphones have been around for less than a decade. Social media is just as new. Attitudes toward behavior and social norms have also changed. Behaviors that would have been unthinkable a generation ago are now accepted in public. That means grandparents who are raising their grandchildren are in a constant state of learning that can be daunting and frustrating.
The simple fact is that grandparents cannot raise their grandchildren in the same way that they raised their children, because the world and our communities have changed so much. And, no matter how well-meaning the grandparents may be, finding themselves raising children again can be extraordinarily stressful. Even though they may or may not have treasured those years with their own children, they may not be emotionally ready to do it again.
If you are raising your grandchildren or even just caring for them for an extended time, there is no shame in feeling stressed, frustrated, and angry at the circumstances. Those are all natural responses to the challenges that you face each day. And it’s okay to ask for help. Our counselors can help you understand the challenges your grandchildren are facing and give you simple, practical strategies to help you become even more effective at helping them. That’s especially important when your relationship with your children has been complicated by the circumstances you face as well.
Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re failing your grandchildren. It’s actually a courageous step, because it means that you recognize your own limitations and want to be better for their sake and yours.
We’ve designed a special parenting group that begins on November 1st. At first glance you may think it is designed only for moms and dads, but anyone who is raising children, including grandparents, can benefit from learning what work in raising children today. The group is designed using Trust Based Relational Intervention strategies that are evidenced based. Consider joining us, though space is limited to just 12 parents and 12 children.
Of course, we’re here to help individually, too. Contact us to learn what will work best for you and your needs. We’re here to help.
Our professionals are here to help churches, businesses, and schools as well. We have a unique approach based on timeless truths and research-based approaches. Learn more about us today.