Grandparents raising grandchildren:
“Where there is room in the heart, there is
always room on the hearth.” Elisabeth Marbury,
My Crystal Ball
The National Center on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren was established in 2001 at Georgia State University, when it was seen as a major national trend that more and more grandparents find themselves raising their kids’ kids.
According to the U. S. 2010 Census, “more than 2.6 million children live in homes where grandparents are the householders and are responsible for them. Of these, almost 1 million children have no parents present in the home.”
In an article written by Dr. C. Sue Miles, West Virginia University Extension Service, it is noted that raising one’s grandchildren have many joys and satisfactions and many challenges.
“Providing grandchildren with a sense of security
by helping them to grow in their self-confidence,
self-identity, self-respect, and self-esteem brings
joys as well as challenges in parenting. Grandparents
often experience a self-renewal through their
Grandparents grieving the actual or emotional death of their own child is by far the biggest challenge they face.
The action of gaining custody of grandchildren often starts out due to dark events taking place in the lives of all family members.
“Many grandparents raising grandchildren face
ongoing issues around the basic physical, emotional,
and financial adjustments they must make. Many
grandparents who are parenting their grandchildren
are deprived of a positive relationship with their own
child. In fact, many start their role grieving an actual
or emotional death of their child.”
Reasons why Grandma is caring for her grandchild:
1. Mom and Dad may be incarcerated
2. Mom may be abusing substances
3. Mom may be deceased
4. Parents may have been court-ordered to relinquish custody due to abuse or neglect
5. Mom or Dad may be seriously physically ill or mentally ill, and unable to care for their child, while the other parents works
The list goes on, but what is most important is there are many organizations and resources nearby to give you help, whether it be financial, physical or moral support.
Seeking support is crucial.
If you are a grandparent taking on the onerous yet loving task of raising your grandchildren you MUST seek outside support. Talk to your minister and/or the school staff where the kids attend, as well as find support groups in your community.
Check out WVU’s Helping Families Helping Children
CHANGE, Inc. Weirton, West Virginia
AARP Grandfamilies Guide
Children’s Defense Fund Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
Lean on me
When you’re not strong
I’ll give you hope
I’ll help you carry on
We all need somebody to lean on.
from the song “Lean On Me”