Some grandparents repeat the child-rearing process with the children of their children. The reasons grandparents find themselves playing parents again vary widely. Grandchildren might struggle with adapting to a new home, though a grandparent's patience and kindness can pave the way to a more fruitful living environment.
Grandparents Raising Children Due to Incarceration
About 1 in 50 children has a parent in jail or prison, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Parents might be in custody because of violent crimes or drug-related offenses, and some parents end up in prison multiple times. Grandparents might take custody of children when parents are sentenced. Some grandparents get custody of grandchildren because of domestic abuse or child abuse or neglect.
Death or Illness of the Parents
Grandparents might gain custody of their grandchildren because of tragic or unforeseen circumstances such as the illness or death of one or both parents, according to KidsHealth, a child development site. An ill parent might be unable to provide the daily care for her children, while a parent who survives the death of a spouse might be too overcome with grief to return to daily child-rearing responsibilities. In such circumstances, a child might be able to live with his parent again in the future.
Nearly 5 million children lived in homes headed by a grandparent in 2000, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In some cases, parents might find themselves becoming grandparents before their children are fully grown. Grandparents miught raise their grandchildren because of a teenage pregnancy, allowing their children time to finish school and get better jobs, according to KidsHealth. In those cases, teenage parents might eventually raise their children, while in other cases grandparents will raise grandchildren themselves.
Deployment or Unemployment
Grandchildren might pack up and move in with grandparents because of problems with the economy or because of a parent's involvement in the military, according to the American Association of Retired Persons. Grandparents might raise grandchildren during military deployments or because of a parent's long-term unemployment. Home foreclosures or moving across the country to find work might also prevent parents from caring for their children.
- WomensHealth: Raising Children Again
- Child Welfare: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- Population Reference Bureau: More U.S. Children Raised by Grandparents
- West Virginia University Extension Service: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- AARP: Raising Grandchildren: Family Issues
- Kids Health: Death and Grief
- Kids Health: When your Teen is Having a Baby
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Parents in Jail
- AARP: More Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images