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Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / Mentors Melissa A. Gibson,

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Presentation on theme: "Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / Mentors Melissa A. Gibson,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

2 Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / Mentors Melissa A. Gibson, M.S. Kim Rozell, M.A. Graduate Assistants Brent Anderson, M.S. Matthew Biller, M.A. Cate Brandon, M.A. Tabitha Carlson, M.S. Dawn Clinard, M.A. Jessie Clinton, M.S. Anup Jonathan Tony Larson, B.A. Nicole Mannis, M.A. Robert Mindrup, M.S.S.W. Colleen Quinn, Ph.D. Amber Schafner, M.A. Amanda Schroeder, B.S. The Training for the Healthy Marriage and Family Formation curriculum was created through the cooperative efforts of:

3 Who are the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren? Biological grandparents Step-grandparent family Single biological grandparent Unrelated persons

4 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren National Statistics 4.5 million children are living in grandparent- headed households. 1.5 million children in the U.S. are living in homes headed by other relatives.

5 Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Missouri 77, 857 children are living in grandparent-headed households (5.5% of all the children in the state). 18,555 children are living in households headed by other relatives (1.3% of all the children in the state).

6 Local Statistics To access statistics, log on to: Additional data on grandparents and grandchildren is available at:

7 Factors Unique to Custodial Grandparents Grandparents have a parental role with both their own children and with the grandchildren. A biological parent may or may not be in the home. The grandparents become parents because of the emotional and/or physical loss of one or both biological parents. The grandparent/grandchild relationship may or may not consist of a legal relationship.

8 Reasons Parents Cannot Provide Care : Divorce Substance abuse Teenage parenthood Family violence Child abuse and neglect Parental military service Poverty Mental health issues Financial difficulties Physical health issues Crime & incarceration Terminal illness or death Rapid rise of single parent households Parental abandonment

9 A Grandparent’s Adjustment Possible reactions include: Anger & resentment Disappointment Sadness for the grandchildren Feeling isolated from friends Depression

10 Challenges Change in expectations Usually an unplanned parenthood Change in social roles/social groups Lack of social support Financial issues Housing concerns

11 Challenges Emotional issues & depression Generational differences Uncertainty about how to help their children & grandchildren Resentment from other children & grandchildren

12 Challenges Physical and emotional exhaustion Increased health problems Legal relationship with grandchildren Dual relationships with their children and grandchildren Interference with marital relationship

13 Issues for Healthy Marriage as Grandparents Raise Grandchildren Spouses do not always agree on how to handle their situation. Conflict between grandparents, their adult children, and the grandchildren can be especially difficult. Guilt and blame associated with the question, “Why were we not able to raise our child(ren) successfully?” One of the grandparents may be a step- grandparent and have little investment in raising step-grandchildren.

14 Unexpected Strains on Marriage How to raise children Jealousy Marital conflicts regarding setting limits Barriers to privacy and sexual intimacy Financial, physical and emotional strains Readjusting priorities Decreased time for oneself and spouse Disruption in relationships with other children, extended family members, and friends

15 Strengths Grandparents Bring to Their Grandchildren Accumulated wisdom from living experiences Maturity Family history and roots An attachment figure for the grandchildren Positive identity and family continuity Communication of unconditional love A sense of security

16 Potential Rewards for Grandparents An unexpected source of purpose and meaning. Seeing the grandchild(ren) grow and develop. Participating in the grandchild(ren)’s activities. Being the recipient of the grandchild(ren)’s love. Increased influence over the fate of grandchildren. Having a second chance to be a parent. Being involved in community activities related to children.

17 Potential Rewards for Grandparents Observing and sharing in the different perspectives that children bring to relationships. Sharing in the laughter and humor of their grandchildren. Rejoicing in the optimism of children.

18 Potential Rewards for Grandparents An opportunity to experience self-renewal through grandchildren. Seeing grandchildren develop self-confidence, self-identity, self-respect, and self-esteem. Adding new social networks to their lives.

19 What May Help Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Educational Support Services Emotional Support Services Support from School Districts or Head Start Financial Support Services

20 What May Help Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Legal Advocacy Service Housing Support Service Public Awareness Campaign Routine monitoring of their physical and psychological well-being by professionals

21 Maintaining a Healthy Marriage While Raising Grandchildren Keep communication channels open by talking to each other often. Create special and protected time together. Create time-outs for each other. Present a united front to your grandchildren and adult children. Keep issues in perspective by maintaining a sense of humor.

22 Coping Skills for Grandparents Listen to your other grown children. Don’t forget about your other grandchildren. Consider instituting family meetings. Consider counseling. Find emotional support. Make your own decisions.

23 Websites Foundation for Grandparenting: Grandparents and More: Grandparents Resource Center: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Grief:

24 American Association for Retired Persons: http// AARP also publishes GIC Voice Newsletter, a free quarterly newsletter for grandparents who are raising grandchildren. To subscribe go to: /gic_newsletter_subscribe.cfm Websites

25 Questions

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