Since 1980, there have been dramatic increases in children living with and being cared for by their grandparents. In 1980, 2.3 million children were living in with their grandparents. By 1997, there were 3.9 million children living in that situation. The 2000 U. S. Census has reported 4.5 million children living in grandparent-headed homes. The 2000 Census also counted, for the first time, 2.4 million grandparents who are responsible for the basic needs of their grandchildren who are living with them.
REASONS WHY GRANDPARENTS ARE RAISING THEIR GRANDCHILDREN
Given the statistics above, it can be assumed that more and more grandparents have to play parenting roles for their grandchildren. There are a number of reasons why the statistics continue to rise:
A majority of grandparents who raise their grandchildren report experiencing a great purpose for living. Providing care for grandchildren helped them to feel young and inactive. Other rewards include
To many of the grandparents raising their grandchildren, their sacrifices are more than worth it. It is clear that despite the problems, most grandparents derive satisfaction from acting as parents to their grandchildren. Caring for their grandchildren can be positive and rewarding. Grandparent bring the benefit of experiences and perspective. They can also provide important stability, predictability. And they can be a healthy role model for their grandchildren.
OTHER PROBABLE BENEFITS
Grandparents can ask for legal arrangements so that they can have full custody, temporary custody, or they can obtain the status of being a foster parent. When custody is established by the law, they will have a measure of legal security and can gain rights and benefits for them and their grandchildren.
Bryson, K. & Casper, L.M. (1998). Co-resident Grandparents and their Grandchildren. Census Bureau Current Population Reports. P23-198.
Doucette-Pudman, D. & Lacerre, J.R. (1996). Raising Our Childrens Children. Minneapolis, MN.: Fairview Press.
Mullen, F. (1995). A tangled web: Public benefits, grandparents and grandchildren. Washington D.C.: American Association of Retired Persons.