SHOULD Grandparents Raise YOUR Children?
Thursday, May 3rd, 2012
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?