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Raising Grandchildren And Keeping Your Sanity

How many of us are facing our golden years, by raising our grandchildren? Is it fair? Of course not, but how do you turn your grandchildren away? Learning to deal with the changes in your life is important. There is always a silver lining to every difficult circumstance we face in life. Recognizing our blessings is essential for a healthy, prosperous and enjoyable life.

Think you’re alone raising your grandchildren?  Not so.  There are over 2.4 million grandparents raising grandchildren in the US.  Many times the reasoning for grandparents taking on the rearing of grandchildren is because their own children are dealing with addictions; alcohol, drug abuse, mental issues, loss of employment, divorce or domestic violence.  Whatever reason you find yourself back in the parenting game, there are resources available to help you.

Support groups are a wonderful way to meet other grandparents dealing with the same stress and pressures that you are.  As much as you love your grandchildren, supporting those grandchildren can create a financial and emotional hardship.  Discussing your feelings with others who share the same burdens as you do, does help.  Having an independent third party listens to your complaints, who doesn’t judge your feelings, helps release anxiety and any pent up anger you may be  feeling.   It’s not only okay to feel angry about the circumstances imposed upon you, but it’s totally natural to feel a certain amount of distress.   Unless you’re up for saint hood, you can’t help but feel anxious about parenting young children again, regardless of how much you love them.

Financial assistance may be available to help with the added cost of supporting your grandchildren.  Places to check:  Social Security (www.ssa.gov/kids/parent5.htm).  States also offer temporary assistance for needy families (www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa).  To search for additional programs please visit www.benefitscheckup.org which is a comprehensive web site designed to help you locate government or private benefits; supplemental income, food stamps, lower energy bills, discounts on prescription medication and much more.

To enroll your children in school or to even seek medical care for your grandchildren, legal guardianship is a requirement. If you need legal advice, please visit www.findlegalhelp.org

Looking for health insurance? You can apply for free or low cost health insurance (depending upon your income) at www.insurekidsnow.gov  or call 877-543-7669. 

You are not alone in assuming the care of your grandchildren.  Support is available, you just have to ask for it.  And for whatever it’s worth; grandparents willing to raise their grandchildren are the unsung heroes I marvel at for their courage, admire for their generosity and respect for their unconditional love.  If brownie points are given for good deeds, then grandparents like yourself  will be rewarded 10 fold.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren:
Census Bureau Facts

SS-158-99

The Grandparents’ Perspective

In the most recent Census Bureau statistics, 2.4 million of the nation’s families are maintained by grandparents who have one or more of their grandchildren living with them–an increase of 400,000 (19 percent) since 1990. These families comprise 7 percent of all families with children under 18.

Slightly more than half (1.3 million) of these 2.4 million grandparent-maintained families contain both grandparents; 1.0 million have only a grandmother; and 150,000 have only a grandfather.

All in all, 2.3 million grandparent-maintained families contain a grandmother and 1.4 million have a grandfather. The grandfathers are more likely than the grandmothers to be employed (66 percent compared with 51 percent) and to own their home (81 percent compared with 69 percent) but less likely to be poor (12 percent and 23 percent).

Of the grandparents who maintain homes for their grandchildren, 55 percent of grandmothers and 47 percent of grandfathers are not yet age 55. Additionally, 19 percent of grandmothers and 15 percent of grandfathers are under age 45.

About two-thirds of grandparent-maintained families include one or both of the children’s parents.

Among grandparent-maintained families, the average household income ranges from $19,750 for those with only a grandmother present to $61,632 for families with both grandparents and at least one of the grandchildren’s parents present.

The Grandchildren’s Perspective

There are 3.9 million (6 percent) children in the United States living in a grandparent’s home, up 76 percent from the 2.2 million (3 percent) who did so in 1970.

Among children in grandparent-headed families, 47 percent live with both grandparents, 47 percent reside with only their grandmother, and 6 percent live with only their grandfather. About two-thirds of these children also reside with at least one of their parents.

Of the children living in a grand-parent’s home, 42 percent are white, 36 percent are African American, 17 percent are Hispanic, and 5 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander or American Indian or Alaska Native.

About 670,000 children across the United States live in their grandmother’s home with neither their grandfather nor their parents present. About two-thirds of these children are poor. The overall poverty rate for children living in a grandparent’s home is 27 percent; for children living in their parents’ home, it is 19 percent.

One-half of grandchildren living in a grandparent’s home are younger than 6.

With respect to one-third of the children who live in a grandparent’s home, the grandparent(s) lacks a high school diploma. In contrast, only one-eighth of children residing in their parents’ homes can say the same thing about their parent(s).

For further information on these Census Bureau facts go to the following URL: http:www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0026/twps0026.html

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