Everyday each of us struggles in our own way to deal with and accept the way the world is. Life is hard so with family we normally try to hold on to them for support in the worlds rocky waves. The term “golden years” seems to be disappearing with the ages. As society progresses it seems as though life’s processes seems to diminish. Have you noticed the changes?
Each year the number of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren are increasing. What is happening to our society when our elderly are now responsible for brining in ALL generations instead of one? Throughout the ages we have heard that children are the future and as adults we set out to secure the next generation and prolong our heritage. Part of our heritage as it has been for many ages is to take care of our elderly citizens. The respect and courtesy we used to show for our elders has floated out the window with the times. So why are grandparents raising their grandkids?
In the last fifty years our culture as human beings has changed dramatically. We have gone from being responsible, caring adults to selfish adults with lustful engages of emotions and pleasures. People have started to focus only on their careers, money, success, themselves, and physical pleasures. People used to focus on family, heritage, caring, obedience, and survival. With these drastic changes on how we view and live our lives it’s no wonder why life itself has changed.
More people (kids, teens, and adults) are finding physical pleasures to distract them from actually living. Drugs have become a prominent problem with all ages of today’s society. When a person is consumed by drugs like meth, cocaine, crack, heroin, and speed it’s no surprise that they can’t function in society as they should. These drugs are consuming the nation and world. Because people and in particular parents are unable to function due to drugs their children suffer. The main cause of child abuse is neglect. Kids are forgotten about because their parents can’t afford the time to care.
Looking back in the history books extended families have normally lived together. In the past it was economically appropriate to have the entire family (grandparents, parents, kids, cousins, aunts, and uncles) living together either on the same property or in the same house. Economically it was the perfect solution to most problems. The family worked and lived together supporting each other in all aspects of life. Today it is a strange occurrence to find more than parents and children in a single home. With the boom of society and the economy, our culture has expanded into single family homes.
The economy today is affecting everyone. More and more families find themselves sharing what food they can, housing, and job opportunities. The reason is purely survival. For low income families it is becoming increasingly hard to maintain a household with rising taxes, food, gas, and pretty much anything under the sun. Families are also breaking apart and sending their children to family members who can help out by raising their children.
For reasons unknown and varying with each situation physical abuse of children has resulted in the parents loss of guardianship. In many cases grandparents are taking on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren because they are being physically abused at home with their parents. The physical abuse these children endure could be anything from using excessive force in spankings and discipline to molest and rape. In situations like these where a child’s physical and mental well being are at stake, grandparents are known to step in and save the child from foster care.
From the Grandparents Mouths
Personally I know a lot of grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. I will not use their real names but here are some of their stories.
Mr. & Mrs. Jenkins
The Jenkins are a loving couple both remarried for the second time, both with kids from previous marriages. Together they have nine kids. Each of their kids struggle to survive in this world and would be considered poor or destitute. The Jenkins nine kids are all grown up and have homes of their own. One of the Jenkins daughters got pregnant at 16 years old and they helped her raise her little girl. Their daughter didn’t stop there. She continued to procreate stopping at two girls and a boy. The last of her children the little boy was born in a toilet by a drug induced mother. Her children were court ordered to not have contact with their mother, so the Jenkins took them in. The Jenkins are in their late fifties raising three grandkids when one of their other daughters dies suddenly leaving a little boy. This boy too gets taken under the wing of the Jenkins. The Jenkins struggle to give their grandchildren a good life and though it’s hard they do a really great job.
Mrs. Henderson is a divorced woman in her late fifties who was a single mother to her youngest two girls. Mrs. Henderson’s five children struggle to support themselves in life. This however is no discouragement to her. Mrs. Henderson works two full time jobs and helps her kids out financially whenever she can. Mrs. Henderson was raised during times of her childhood by her grandmother, and other times by her aunt and uncle. She knows the struggles life can ensue and tries her best to keep her kids from having to learn the hard way. Because of the difficulty of life Mrs. Henderson has taken in all of her kids, supported them, their spouses (at times), and her grandkids. Most of the time Mrs. Henderson supports her grandchildren and their parents simultaneously. Mrs. Henderson doesn’t mind the extra trouble and it doesn’t usually last more than a year, but it happens at least once for all of her kids.
Mr. & Mrs. Wilcox
The Wilcox’s are a couple in their late fifties that have been married for many years and have four children. Their kids struggle in life just like the rest of the world but share what they can with each other. They all have their own homes with a child of their own, except for one who has yet to have kids. Their second grandchild was born to teenage parents. The father is the Wilcox’s youngest son. This grandchild was not planned, but loved by the Wilcox family all the same. This grandchild is a little boy who mainly lives with his mother and grandmother. The mother and grandmother neglect this little boy to the point where he has had to be emitted in the hospital for dehydration multiple times. The mother and grandmother view him as a money ticket. The Wilcox’s however love this little boy with all their hearts. The little boy even calls his grandmother Wilcox “Mom”. When the little boys father gets visitation and custody Momma Wilcox is the one he calls. Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox wish with all their might that they could adopt their grandson so that he could have a healthy happy life. Unfortunately they only get him every other weekend, or when it’s convenient to the little boys mother. Court costs and state laws keep the Wilcox family from obtaining custody, though they keep trying.
- According to the Census Bureau 2.4 million of the nation’s families are headed by a grandparent with one or more of their grandchildren living with them.
- 1.3 million of these contain both grandparents
- 1 million of these have only a grandmother
- 150,000 of these have only a grandfather
- 42% are white; 36% are African American; 17% are Hispanic; 5% are Pacific Islander, American Indian, or Alaska Native
- Two-thirds of these include one or both of the children’s parents
- The average household income ranges from $19,750 – $61,632 for families with both grandparents and at least one parent.
- According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the estimated cost per month to raise a child is $990
- It is costly and expensive to raise children especially if you’re on a fixed income. When we are tossed into a new situation we don’t always know what to do or where to go for help. If you are a grandparent or know someone who’s a grandparent struggling to raise their grandchildren the following information is for you.
· AARP Grandparent Information Center
· Creative Grandparenting
· Grandparents Resource Center
· National Center for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
· Grandparents Who Care
· Grandparents Rights Organization
· Social Security Benefits for Grandchildren
Remember you don’t have to be alone.