Honoring Grandparents – It’s Great To be Grand! (Week 3)

September 23, 2021

“Grandparents are similar to a piece of string – handy to have around and easily wrapped around the fingers of their grandchildren.”
~ Author Unknown

Last week we presented interesting facts regarding grandparents. Some of those details included the number of grandparents serving as caregivers of their grandchildren. The statistics are showing that it is a situation that is becoming more and more common. On this issue, it should be noted it isn’t something that just happens to a certain race, area or social class. It happens in all socioeconomic groups due to divorce, neglect, teen-age pregnancy, the death of the parents, incarceration, unemployment, abuse, alcohol or drug usage, or abandonment.

Nationwide there are more than 3 million grandparents raising grandchildren. The ranks are increasing. According to Dr. Andrew Adesman in research that was presented to the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference, “although these children are more likely to have endured one or more adverse childhood experiences, and the grandparents themselves often face extra health and socioeconomic hurdles, findings suggest they appear to be coping well.” At the same time, parenting grandparents may feel isolated from peers and may not take advantage of local or online supports.

But, in spite of the challenges of grandparents raising their grandchildren, the Report concludes that in spite of raising seemingly more difficult children and despite having greater physical and mental health issues, grandparents raising their grandchildren appear to be coping with the stresses of parenting just as well as biological/ adoptive parent caregivers. (1)

If you are a grandparent raising your grandchildren, occasionally you may need help when you are feeling overwhelmed. The AARP has this advice:

• Ask for help. Make a list of small and large ways family and friends can support you. Asking for help is a sign of strength. It says you are going to do your best in raising your grandchildren.

• Talk with friends about how your social life will change. Let them know you would still like to see them, but you might need help with babysitting.

• Have a family conference or meeting of close and extended family members. Discuss how your life, your grandchild’s life and other family members’ lives will change. (2)

Beloved, if you need support or assistance as you raise those precious grandchildren, reach out for help. There are resources available. Don’t hesitate to reach out for spiritual support from your Church family and friends. Romans 12:13 admonishes us to “share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Hospitality can surface in many ways; for example, offering to babysit when the parenting grandparent has a doctor’s appointment, needs to run errands or stepping in to to do their grocery shopping, making meals, etc.

Sources:

1 American Academy of Pediatrics, 2018 at aap.org. “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: Are They Up to the Job?” at: https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/144/2_MeetingAbstract/77.

2 AARP, “Raising Grandchildren: Support”, by Amy Goyer at https://www.aarp.org/relationships/friends-family/info-08-2011/grandfamilies-guide-support.html.

Next Week: Series Conclusion

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