In American society, grandparent have been involved in the issues of raising their grandchildren in situation where the parent are not available, unwilling or not able to give sufficient care for their children. In other instances grandparent participate in taking care of their grandchildren even if the situation of parent are willing to care for their children. This is due to traditional cultures giving grandparent clear and direct duty for taking care and nurturing of their grandchildren.
Traditionally, relationship between grandchildren and grandparent has been a special one but the current trend and growth of grandparent raising and taking care of grandparent has raise questions. In the past three decades, growth of the grandparent has gone beyond the perceived traditional role to social problem attracting researcher to study social implication of their role (Geen & Rob, 2004). A part from the traditional role of grandparent caring for their grandchildren being sentimental, this role in many instances has change to absolute caring and maintaining them.
Their relationship has been special but the current trend means grandparent are taking responsibility of raising a second family. In the normal circumstances, children are expected to raised under intact family assume to having presence of both parent living in a favorable conditions. Traditionally, children would visit their grandparent in a situation where they are not living together over the weekends and sent back to their parent after the weekend.
This trend has changed as the luxury of sending children to their parent of the weekend has changed to taking absolute care since the parent are unavailable, not able or not in position to take care of their children (Geen & Rob, 2004). Grandparents staying with their grandchildren are expected to take responsibility of raising and maintaining them. This result to social implication as the grandparent get to this role due prevailing circumstance other than something planned. Parenting role requires commitment or devotion as well as employment of financial resources.
Roles of taking care of the grandchildren give grandparents massive responsibilities which may translate to emotional straining. The raise in number of families under absolute care of grandparent has increase to a questionable level which is beyond the traditional role. Study on the grandparent raising their grandchildren is important since it may evaluate the cause of the current trends, social implication to the grandparent and grandchildren, measures and solution to be taken.
This paper investigates the tread and growth of the grandparent raising their grandchildren, its implication and solution to this problem and the help which can be advanced to this form of parenting (Edwards & Daire 2006). Culturally, nobody plan to raise a second taking all responsibilities which goes with this role. This means that grandparent taking fulltime responsibility of maintaining a grandchild cause to major change in the life of the grandparent (Edwards & Daire 2006).
Demands which come with the role of parenting for the second time leads to unplanned struggles resulting to financial, emotional, physical, social and legal challenge not experienced the time when these grandparent were raising their own children. Most of grandparent are always in their old age, “The census of 1997 indicates that 33% of grandparent caregivers are under the age of 50, 48% are between the ages of 50 and 64, and 19% are over the age of 65” (National Resources Centre for Respite and Crisis Care Services 1998 para.
2). This means that engaging grandparent in raising of their grandchildren results trying to balance between struggling to manage their old age and caring for their grandchildren. Various studies have indicated that there is an increase in the case of grandparent raising their grandchildren. According to Casper and Bryson 2008, United States Bureau of the Census categorizes studies on this subject on five type grandparent maintained families i. e.
“…both grandparents, some parents present; both grandparents, no parents present; grandmother only, some parents present; grandmother only, no parents present; and grandfather only present” (Casper and Bryson 2008 para. 1). This categorization is important as it helps to analyze implication since different states leads to different implications. Statistics from U. S. Census Bureau indicates that in 1970 3. 2 percent or 2. 2 million children in United States lived under care of grandparents.
Overtime, the proportion of the grandchildren maintained by grandparent has resulted to a drastic increase. 1997 census on this subject indicated that there was an increase from 3. 2 percent in 1970 to 5. 5 percent or from 2. 2 million to 3. 9 million. This represents a 76 percent increase over period of 27 years. According to these statistical this increase was experienced in all in the above mentioned types of the grandparent care.
The most notable was 118 percent increase of grandchildren with only mothers under grandparent with grandchildren living with their fathers increased by 217 percent. This change was more notable in 1980s but this further increased in 1990 indicating the greatest increase of children maintained by grandparents. According to Hammond 2002, statistics by American Association of retired Persons on 2000 census indicates that 2. 4 million grandparents are fully in charge of maintaining and solely taking care of their grandchildren. This was a 30 percent of the increase in the in 10 years.