I have been reading more articles than every before of the amounts of grandparents today who have taken in their children and their families. Financial reasons and problems with marriages seem to be the biggest factors for this. They are taking on the roles of parenting all over again. Not just baby-sitters, they are rearing the children while the parent(s) work(s).
I am amazed at the figures. In 1998, 3.9 million children younger than 18 lived in households headed by their grandparents, an 80 percent increase since 1970. Unfortunately, many of these grandparents should be enjoying their retirement.
Many are not physically and emotionally prepared to take on these rolls. Many had difficulty rearing the own children let alone the grandchildren. There are many issues that face these grandparents caregiving to their grandchildren: guardianship, who will care for the children if they die and much more.
Legislation needs to be passed to assist these grandparents who are generally from lower income brackets. Nationally, there must be more funding and support to help these Grandparents adjust to the changing times, the needs of the children and a myriad of other issues. This is another form of caregiving many of us have not given much thought to but it is something to think about as the numbers increase.
Copyrighted Gail R. Mitchell 6/17/99