A survey of grandparents using the service found many feel isolated, guilty their sons and daughters could not raise their own children and worried they did not have the technology younger families provide for their offspring. Financial difficulty was another area of major stress.
This article doesn't say a lot but it says enough for us to be reminded this is of growing concern but we are not really dealing with it. Firstly there is the whole issue of who should be the carer if the designated carer is not there either because of dysfunction or death. We have an economy, not a society. We can no longer just expect the family to take over because that can then put added strain onto somebody who is working, caring for their own family and trying to drive our economy. Families can generally manage their affairs if there are no other expectations but full time work takes people away from home and therefore the care of family members and there is only so much they can manage before they , too, break. The article mentions drug and alcohol abuse in their own children as being the main reasons for grandparents stepping in to care for grand children. Is this the case? What are we doing about drug and alcohol dependent parents? Why are our parents like that and what can we do to drug and alcohol proof our parents and adults who are likely to be parents? You can see why we are avoiding dealing with it. Grand parents caring for grand children may well find themselves in a yoyo situation where children come and go depending on whether the parents are managing or not managing things like rehabilitation. It means grand parents don't then have continuity and rights and would attach to the role of primary carer but have none of its privileges. They are used. At that stage of life they could say they have done their bit raising their own children but then we would have a lot of uncared for children it would seem. How many? The article also mentions the guilt these people feel and how isolated they feel for having to raise their grand children. Well, maybe this article is a good start. It has got the matter into the open again and we are just going to have to normalise it if this is happening. We are going to have to talk about it and discuss it and consider the options and what to do. We need to get it out there so our conversations make it a more normal thing and then maybe we'll be able to do something about it and let these grandparents know they are not awful or odd, nor have they failed...in fact they have given up their lives again to raise a second family and we should be thankful for it and proud of them.