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The unexpected caregiver phase for many grandparents

A recent report revealed that an increasing number of grandparents have assumed the role of parenting for their grandchildren. Although the innate desire for grandparents is to love and nurture their grandchildren, many did not expect to acquire the majority of the responsibility for raising their grandchildren especially after raising their own children.

The reasons for assuming the role of primary caregiver for grandchildren vary. It may be due to the untimely death of a child's parent or substance abuse while it could be linked to a parent's need for child care assistance. This growing trend has been found primarily among minority races who feel a sense of obligation to care for their grandchildren. Reports have also revealed that a significant number of grandparents are living in the same household with their grandchildren. If the parents are also living in the same household, this option is utilized more as opposed to seeking external child care resources.

While some grandparents can afford to provide for their grandchildren with no economic support, there are others who find it hard to do so. This is especially true if there is only one limited source of income. Grandparents who struggle to make ends meet are often unaware of resources which may help them provide a better living for themselves and their grandchildren.

The process of keeping a family together can be a challenge when unexpected events such as death, divorce, or illness have occurred. Areas of concern many grandparents have include child custody and parental visitation rights. Significant progress has been made to help grandparents gain the support they need through advocacy programs. Grandparents who need help providing for their grandchildren can also seek legal guidance.

Source: Washington Post, "As families become more complicated, more grandparents care for kids, study says", Tara Bahrampour, November 05, 2013

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