When parents are unable to raise their children, grandparents often step in. In the U.S., there are millions of grandparents raising grandchildren. These families are often called “grandfamilies.” Of course raising your own grandchildren is not without it’s challenges, but, it can also be rewarding.
Raising a second generation brings many rewards, like giving grandkids a sense of security, developing a deeper relationship, and keeping the family together. But there can be many challenges with this “grandfamilies” arrangement as well: grandparents and grandkids may both feel anger, stress, or resentment – this is all normal.
Kids may act up or disobey their grandparents. They might be struggling with emotional issues and grief, especially their parents have died. They may be troubled if they were abused or hurt by their parents or other adults in their lives prior to coming into their grandparents’ care. Grandparents may lack stamina and patience and struggle with financial problems at times.
The good news is that raising grandchildren gives you a chance to make a real difference in their lives. There are many ways to get help, maintain good communication, and take care of yourself along the way and here are just some great resources for grandparents raising grandchildren:
HelpGuide.org is a nonprofit site that gives grandparents resources, tools and ideas on how to get help and make the most of raising grandchildren. Whether you need counseling, help with mental health or emotional issues for your grandchildren, or need help with caregiver stress and burnout, this site has lots of great resources.
USA.gov is a federal government website that has a special page for grandparents raising grandchildren. You can get access to information here about government benefits and social services, insurance and financial planning information, and all kinds of other resources to help with raising grandchildren.
Grandparents Plus Support Network is a UK program that helps provide information, resources and events (such as Parenting Workshops and Befriending Services) for the 200,000 grandparents and other family members in the UK who are raising children who cannot live with their parents.
The AARP offers a comprehensive GrandFamilies Guide with U.S.-specific information on legal documents, finances, health insurance, education and childcare, and many other things you will need to know to protect your rights and maximize assistance in caring for your grandkids.
Generations United is a nonprofit organization focused on helping families of multiple generations. They advocate for national policies and programs to help grandfamilies, and their site has a variety of resources and ideas on how grandfamilies can get help and have a healthy, happy life.
CanGrands is a nonprofit organization for grandparents raising grandkids in Canada. They offer resources, a newsletter and social support for legal issues, health care, and other practical help for grandparents and other relatives raising children and grandchildren.
Daily Strength is an online community with a special online support group for grandparents who are the primary caregivers of their grandchildren. Look here for an online forum for conversation and support to get your questions answered on everything from adoption to birth certificates to the emotional challenges of raising grandchildren.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren is a nonprofit charitable trust based in New Zealand that helps connect grandparents with resources, information and support for raising grandchildren.
Wherever you live, whatever your family’s circumstances, I hope that every “grandfamily” can get connected to the resources and support that they need to feel fully cared for and part of the community. Many kids thrive when being raised by their grandparents – but the rest of us as a community need to make sure that we’re aware of the challenges and that we’re helping to “care for the caregivers.” Best wishes to all of you in the Sixty and Me community who are doing the very important work of raising your grandchildren to be the best people they can be.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you raising your own grandchildren or do you have friends who are? Have you found any other useful resources for grandparents raising grandchildren? Please add your thoughts in the comments section below.