Read about grandparents who act as parents,
parenting grandchildren issues and child welfare and the role of
Grandparents As Parents
There is a sharp rise in the number of children who
are being raised by persons other than their parents and in majority of
the cases, these persons are none other that the grandparents. However,
bringing up your grandchildren is no easy task. Even though grandparents
are experienced parents and are quite aware of the developmental needs
of children, there are several special issues that make it tough for
them to rear up the kids, one of the most common being the huge
generation gap. Let us explore the reasons why grandchildren have to act
like parents and take care of their grandchildren and what kind of
issues do they face in the context.
The main reasons for grandparents stepping in fulfill the parental role
for children include
- To take care of grandchildren who have suffered from the death of
- To provide a home-like experience for children of working parents
- To influence grandchildren's personal and cultural identity
- To buffer the effects of divorce in grandchildren
- To help their child handle single-parenthood
- To reduce the financial and emotional burden of their own
- To care for grandchildren with incarcerated parents
- To care for grandchildren whose parents have contracted HIV or
other fatal illnesses
- To reduce their grandchildren's contact with substance-abusing
- To help in transitional situations, such as a parent sent
overseas to work
Issues In Parenting Grandchildren
- The absence of one or both the parents is the primary emotional
hurdle that the child faces, when a grandparent begins parenting
him/her. The child will grieve deeply, no matter whether the absence
of the parent was due to death or divorce or caused by substance
abuse, child abuse or neglect.
- Parenting grandchildren can lead to emotional conflicts and
turmoil. The child who was earlier so frank and free with his/her
grandparents might start shirking away.
- Many grandparents face difficulties in meeting the educational
needs of the child. They might not be able to help him/her with
school matters, like homework and project.
- Older family caregivers frequently have their own health and
age-related issues that make parenting difficult.
- The lines of family authority tend to become unclear and confused
in the child's mind. This is more pronounced when a grandparent
fulfills a parent role even when the parent is present.
- A grandparent who adopts a child becomes that child's parent and
the child's natural parents can no longer make decisions for the
child. This might create a rift between them.
- Family harmony can be affected and relationship with other family
members might become complicated.
- Separation from peers is an issue that people face, when
parenting their grandchildren. They may have to give up on
activities such as meeting up with friends or taking their regular
trips, in order to fulfill childcare obligations.
- Many of the grandparents undergo psychological problem. They feel
ashamed of the fact that their own child has failed as a parent and
blame themselves for being the reason behind it.