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Why Are Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Good afternoon my friends. Grandpa Dale here. Once again I am writing a post for my blog. Even with the very high numbers out there like 2.9 million in United States and about 850 000 households in Canada I still get the question as to why are grandparents raising grandchildren. Well there isn’t any easy answer to this.

There are several reasons and in this article I will try and see if I can make more sense of this question. The world in my opinion is a better place because of grandparents.

In almost all cases if grandparents don’t step up in difficult times grandchildren can very likely be adopted out of their family including the extended family.

Not All Reasons Are Bad

Because of the situation we are in with raising our grandson I have had the opportunity to speak to a lot of grandparents in the same situation or at least a similar situation.

One scenario is big family syndrome. This is for the most part done to save money in families. What happens is the grandparents move in with their kids. What this does is saves a lot of money on many things such as housing, child care, food and so forth.

Generally both parents work full time and quite often even a lot of overtime because they know their kids are safe at home with the grandparents. In exchange for housing the grandparents usually stay home and do anything that needs to be done there.

They cook the meals, clean the house, do the laundry, take the kids to school, pick them up. They get them to their sport events, birthday parties and so forth. Yep everything a parent would normally do the grandparents are now doing. Unfortunately the kids end up barely knowing their parents. This is all done mostly just to save money.

Divorce Is Another Reason

So now we have divorce, separation or even death of one parent. This in most cases makes it immediatley difficult because you have now gone from a family with both parents to a single parent family. Now the single parent is thrust into the role of trying to do what two parents were doing. In many cases it just doesn’t work that well. The single parents that are not lucky enough to make it do usually try and try very hard until something has to give.

Quite often the single parent throws their arms in the air and gives up. Financially and mentally they just can’t do it. More often than not they end up handing their children over to the grand parents with good intentions. Almost always they say they just need a little time to get back on track. Well that never happens and they never end up taking the children back.

Of course in most cases the grandparents continue doing what they are doing because for the most part they don’t want to rock the boat. No matter how hard it is on them they just maintain what normalcy they can because they understand that is best for the children.

Biggest Reason This Is Happening

2017 and we are dealing now more than ever with addiction, incarceration and mental disorders. It is so sad but so true. This stuff can be and in many cases is very devastating. I know because I am on the side of seeing what it does to loved ones and how it affects their lives and everyone around them.

Drugs and alcohol are bad, bad, bad. I guess in moderation alcohol can be ok but as for drugs go ahead and try and convince me that they don’t almost always lead to problems.

One o’clock in the morning a baby is in a locked running van while it is 40 below zero outside. The mom is in a known meth house scoring what she needs. The baby isn’t sleeping but rather he is screaming. Someone hears him and calls the police. This snowballs into social services and the child is taken by them. This all happened to a girl who said a little pot will never hurt me. Unfortunately it was the little bit of pot that got her wanting more.

This is just a brief explanation as to how my wife and I ended up getting custody and full rights of our grandson. I will write more on it later in a different post.

So we have drugs, alcohol and what not that quite often leads to abandonment. These people never admit to wrong doings, they blame society for everything that is happening.

Once social services steps in there is a very high chance that the grandparents will end up raising the kids. In many cases it will be forever. It’s not usually a good scenario in the family as well. As a grandparent you are trying to do what’s best for your grandchildren and because of that someone like your son or daughter usually end up hating you.

How Does This Effect Grandparents

This is what you would really call a shock to the system. In many cases grandparents are already retired or at least working towards it shortly.

Well raising kids can put a big damper on that. There are legal expenses, clothing, school, food, holidays, hobbies, friends and so much more that costs money. So what in many cases happens is grandparents end up going back to work or continue working longer than they had anticipated.

Then comes the mental aspects of what is happening. You are just getting ready to go travel, enjoy a retirement lifestyle and you find yourself sitting on the edge of a bed changing a diaper. It can lead to depression, anger, resentment and so much more.

There has to be support for grandparents. Not only financially but mentally as well. This is very much life changing for them. Of course it’s not like they don’t know how because they obviously raised their own kids. It’s just not what they had signed up for in retirement.

Life Will Go On

In some ways I paint a very dreary picture here. But at the end of the day it’s not all bad. Most grandparents wouldn’t change a thing. They know they are doing this for all the write reasons. It does build a lot of great memories. Life will go on, smiles will come back and we will wake up to another bright and sunny day.

Grandpa Dale

Dale Mazurek

16 Comments

  1. Hi Dale, thanks for an informative article it is a real eye opener! I am looking forward to having grandkids of my own in the not too distant future, but being a full time caregiver wouldn’t be something I’d want to do. I guess if the circumstances demanded it though, I would happily step up to the plate for my family. I just hope it would never come to that. Being a grandparent is a gift – and from people I have talked to, it’s completely different to being a parent. I just hope that I’m lucky enough to experience it one day soon. Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Karen

    • Well I hope you get to enjoy being a grandparent as it is meant to be. I wish I could be some days. However I still have my grandson in the family and that’s what matters.

  2. Being a grandparent that knows exactly what you are talking about. In my case there is a little twist. When I got married my wife had a step-daughter who was 17 and had a daughter of her own. with in the first 6 months of our marriage they moved in and became adopted so guess what there went the rest of the honeymoon phase. Don’t get me wrong for the most part it was great but we kept trying to also have our daughter do the most of the raising. Over the years in kept causing problems. They left and now we have neither nor do we hear from either. There is a fine line a grandparent has to walk.

    • It is an especially fine line when you are doing all the raising. You want to be a grandparent but you cant be because you have to be a parent. it is very difficult some days.

  3. I learnt a lot of things here and I loved the articles and how it is presented.
    Very thorough and educative, I enjoyed reading this article. Keep up the good
    Work and was able to learn something I have been having a hard time understanding How to add tags, you actually helped me understand by looking at your tags. Job well done.

  4. This is happening right now everywhere! The parents have to both work to raise a family financially, and someone needs to stay with the kids. The childcare system is also very expensive these days. Very hard for the grandparents… some grandparents do thrive in this position… some struggle. Post made me think a lot.

  5. Wow, that sure sounds tough. Just when you’re ready to retire and enjoy life you have to bring up another child. But good on you that you took that upon yourself as oppose to putting your grandchild up for fostering.
    There are a lot of grandparents out there who babysit their grandkids just during the day, because its cheaper for their working children. I work from home so I don’t have that problem, but if I had to work outside the home I would be the most comfortable with my parents looking after my children. Nice article:)

    • If I could just watch our little guy during the day I could actually be a grandparent.  but because I don’t I am having to be his parent.

      Thanks for the comment.

  6. Thanks for this very interesting article Grandpa Dale. The reasons why grandparents are looking after the grandchildren. How fortunate many children are to have grandparents who can look after them. Think of the days of the Native American and African tribes etc where the extended family was a way of life. Must have been a wonderful way to live. Everyone looking after everyone.

    • thank you for a great reply.  Yes it does kind of feel like we have gone full circle.  The difference now though is it feels forced these days as compared to the norm back then.

  7. My wife’s son spent several years living with his Grandparents. His mom went of to the city to work and the grandparents took care of him. My wife is from Senegal in Africa and there not only grandparents raise children but it could also be an aunt or uncle. This is often because of practical and/or financial reasons. The parents might have to go and work some place else and the children can not always follow.
    These things vary from family to family depending on the circumstances but as long as the kids are happy and healthy it is all fine.

  8. Hey there Dale! I really love your page! I really found the information to be interesting, informative and eye-opening. I just had my own child and it really played a whole new perspective in how I look at my Mom and how I know that she would help us with anything in a heartbeat. I don’t think Grandparents get enough credit for all that they do.

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