SHOULD Grandparents Raise YOUR Children?

SHOULD Grandparents Raise YOUR Children? Picture

According to recent statistics from the US Census Bureau, around 2.4 million families in the United States are headed up by grandparents. This equates to 3.9 million children who are being parentally supported by their grandparents rather than their parents. In many of these instances, the parents of the children also live with the grandparents and are also being supported by the elders.   

Certainly, the economy is changing the way that American families live. And there are numerous instances where grandparents are just a better choice as ‘parent’ than the parents are. Statistics also indicate that around half of these grandparents are under the age of 55, which experts indicate is a result of more children being born to young mothers. 

As a mom, I am okay (and why wouldn't I be?) with families doing whatever they need to do to make ends meet and to support children in the best ways possible. Neither I, nor anyone else can (or should) suggest or decide what is best for other families and ultimately the goal is to emotionally support and foster children into adulthood. 

That being said, I do find that a lot of adults seem to take advantage of the grandparents for generalized care of their children. And this is not something that is reserved for young parents. 

When is relying on the grandparents to care for children – from daily babysitting duties to chauffeuring them around to activities, too much or unreasonable? There is no denying that grandparents love their grandchildren and would do just about anything to help. But at the same time, it seems very easy for adult children to take advantage of this love and kindness. And….is it even fair? 

AARP ran an article about a year ago, where 78% of grandparents who care for their grandchildren on a routine basis admitted that they felt taken advantage of by their grown children as it pertains to caring for the youngsters. And, a whopping 90% admitted that they have great difficulty saying NO to their grown children when asked for childcare assistance. 65% also said that they never get paid or reimbursed for their time (or gas or food) and feel awkward asking for it. 

Grandparents are such an awesome part of every child’s life. But somehow, implementing their role as caretaker, or second parent, or sole parent – seems to take away from some of the perks of grandparenting

After all, these folks have already raised their children, and look forward to spoiling and doting on yours. Is it fair to expect them to fill parental shoes? I, personally, don’t know the answer to this question and likely wont until I become a grandparent myself (which is hopefully years and years away). 

What do you think? Is there a fine line between grandparents ‘helping out’ with the kids and ‘being responsible’ for them? Do you know anyone who takes advantage of the grandparents? 

What do you think?

SHOULD Grandparents Raise YOUR Children?

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of Melanie Melanie says:

    My parents play a key part in my sons life.I work, and they are our child care provider. So he is with them 40-45 hours a week. And he adores them. And he is their only grandchild and they adore him. But they are paid for their time…and I provide milk, lunch, diapers, etc. I am so blessed to Have this situation and am very grateful for it. But it works because my parents respect that he is my child and go with our rules…and I respect and trust that when he is with them, they may do things differently and that is ok. I am also very conscious of how much they have him while I am working and NEVER ask them to baby-sit any other time. It is very rare we get a sitter evenings or weekends, but if we do, it is never my parents because I don’t want to take advantage when they are already so generous…so after that long explanation, I guess what I am saying is that grandparents are a huge blessing and the amount of time a child spends with them- and the circumstances – have to work for everyone. But they should be enjoying their grandchildren, not raising them 24/7.

  2. Profile photo of Indiana07 Indiana07 says:

    My mother passed away in 2009 so she wont be able take care of my children and they wont get the oppertunity to get to know her. And I would never trust my dad enough to be alone with them. He would probably hit them or hurt them if he got angery.
    When my mom was alive my sister took advantage of my mom. My mom and a few of my siblings and I are the ones who raised her kids for the first four years of their lives. I think that it is the responsibility of the parents to care for their kids and not the grandparent. Its ok for the children to spend time with ther grandparents but not be taken care of by them.

  3. Profile photo of Jennifer Jennifer says:

    I have the opposite problem. I am a young mother (just turned 23 & my daughter is 16 months) and my parents take her for 3 or 4 hours every Wednesday night just to spend time with her not because I need them too. However they often complain that they don’t get to watch her enough and complain because I am not ready to let her spend the night at their house (not because of them, I’m just not ready for her to be away from me that long). I feel like them watching her anymore that that would be taking advantage even though they assure me they want her more. Also, I offer to bring stuff for her, and they won’t take it, they insist on buying diapers, wipes, food, and everything for her at their house, even thought she is usually only there one night a week and maybe one extra night a month.


Send this to a friend