Grandparents parenting their own grandchildren has become a present reality in the united States. According to the latest estimates, over 7 million grandparents live with their grandchildren and 39% of those are responsible for their grandchildren’s well being. For many this comes at a time when they would likely desire more freedom since they have reared their own children. These grandparents are at least into middle age and most likely deeply involved in a career. Estimates indicate 51% are in the labor force and 73% are ages 30-59.
Many reasons factor into why grandparents are parenting or have returned to parenting. One factor may be some type of disability for one of the grandparents. They may not be able to totally maintain their household but may be able to care for grandchildren for a period of time each day so they live together for this convenience. Overall 26% of these grandparents have a disability on some kind. Death of a grandparent may be another reason the living grandparent has become a part of this family. This person may find great satisfaction parenting when the occasion arises.
Another factor may be the income of the parents. Many of those starting a career do not have an adequate income so they live with parents until they can become established on their own. This factor may be true for the grandparents as well; 22.8% of grandparents parenting grandchildren live below the poverty line, ages 30-59. Therefore the younger family may be living there to help financially.
Single parent families are a big issue when we address parenting. Estimates show 11.1 million single parent families in the United States. Of those, 8.5 million are single mothers and 2.6 million are single fathers. Many reasons can answer why single parents are prevelant in our age. We can start with unwed mothers as a reason. These mothers have chosen not to marry for one reason or another and are caring for their own child. Reasons for not marrying may be numerous. At times the father has abandoned her before or after the birth of the child. This can also be true for the single father. The emotional toil is too great so one of them leaves, and the remaining parent assumes responsibility. The single parent may have begun a career before the birth of the child and finds no time to develop a relationship with a partner so decides to raise the child themselves with the help of grandparents. A single parent may not be prepared emotionally to care for a child and develop a relationship with the other parent so they delay marriage until sometime in the future.
Death is another reason for the single parent. Unseen events happen such as military service, a car accident, or a tragic health event that results in death. Military duty often calls one or both parents away from their children. Their custody often falls to grandparents or another immediate family member. Unfortunately war does has its causulties and leaves a grieving spouse and children. Tragic health events such as cancer or other diseases that have a long term recovery or lead to death can be exhausting for the family. During the treatment and eventually death, support is essential and it is great if grandparents can be there.
Broken relationships in various ways can create single parent families. This can occur before or after marriage, before or after the birth of a child, and later in life as children are older. This happens in a new relationship as couples realize they are not compatible or later on in life through divorce.
Many times and for many reasons grandparents resume their parenting role for grandchildren because they feel the need to support their children in whatever way they can .
Statistics found in the 2010 census