Wednesday, April 25, 2012
How Grandparents Feel About Second-Time-Around Parenting
Grandparents have been widely assumed to live apart from grandchildren, and to play the doting grandparent role, such as giving gifts, telling family stories or providing temporary child care. However, in recent years more grandparents are serving as surrogate parents when adult children experience physical abuse, drug abuse, divorce, mental illness and incarceration.
Research from Virginia Tech recently examined how grandparents compared parenting their grandchildren to raising their own children. When parenting their grandchildren, grandparents reported that they looked at their grandkids the same as they did their own children. They felt they were wiser the second time around and while incorporating most of the same parenting strategies, they were not as serious and strict as they were when parenting their own children.
Parenting the second time around also provided challenges for grandparents. Grandparents may be experiencing health problem and limited energy, making it difficult to keep up with grandchildren. Additionally, the social environment today is different from decades ago, when grandparents raised their own children. Grandparents (like many parents) worry that today’s media, drugs, alcohol, violence and liberal attitudes about sex will impact their grandchildren’s well-being.
However, family cohesion and community services available to grandparents, such as Kinship Care programs, can reduce the stress of raising grandchildren.