Today’s Boomers are a very busy group of people. From buying new homes, vacationing around the world, and using their business savvy skills to become the most profitable group of retirees ever, you would think that Boomers would enjoy saying good bye to their parenting years and embark on their new solo journeys. However, today’s Boomers are finding themselves in a very similar role to the one they’ve played for the past eighteen years, grandparents raising grandkids.
There are a number of different reasons why more grandparents are taking a larger role in raising grandkids. In fact, so many grandparents are raising grandchildren that this family unit has a new name- grandfamilies. Grandparents have always played a vital role in the family unit structure. They have served primarily in the role as mentor and support provider to the parents as well as for grandchildren. However, modern grandparents are finding that they are providing much more day-to-day care for grandchildren then in time’s past.
Grandfamilies are becoming increasingly more common for a number of reasons. First, as the divorce rates rise, more single parent families are facing the burdens, stress, and pressures of raising families by themselves. Often, grandparents move in with their single parent child to help raise the children. Other times the stress of parenting becomes so overwhelming that parents turn their children over to their parent’s care.
Financial trouble and divorce aren’t the only reason for the rising rate of grandfamilies; crime and substance abuse play a strong factor as well. When parents become incarcerated, fail to raise their children due to drug or alcohol abuse, or lose their children due to abuse or neglect it is often grandparents who step in and pick up the reigns. No matter what the reason or cause, one thing is certain; grandparents need plenty of support when they are suddenly thrust back into the parenting role.
When Boomers take over the parenting role, they may be overwhelmed with a number of different emotions. They may feel happy that they were able to step in and make sure that their grandchildren are properly being cared for, but there is no denying that it is hard work. It often occurs at a time when most grandparents are looking forward to their retirement years and slowing down. Raising their grandchildren is a definite upset in their plans and this can result in feelings of anger, grief, resentment, and even sadness.
Since many grandparents have left the work place, there are a number of particular financial challenges that face grandfamilies particularly. It is important that grandparents seek support to ensure that they not only provide the best care for their grandkids, but also have access to support that provides a lifeline for grandparents. Fortunately, since there are so many grandparents raising children, it isn’t hard to find friends who are in the same situation and build support that way. Finding the balance in raising grandchildren and still claiming their own lives is imperative to ensuring that grandparents can meet the challenges with vigor, energy, and a positive outlook.
Marcia Ripperger is a work at home mom and grandmother in Minnesota. She is the owner of a Christian Work From Home Moms and Grandparents web site at Faithful Grannies and WAHM Choices. Bringing generations of Christian Work From Home Moms, Grandmothers, Parents, Boomers and Families together while providing resources, inspiration and affordable advertising while balancing the work at home experience.
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