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The unique challenges for grandparents raising children

In recent years, it has become more and more common here in the U.S. for grandparents to raise their grandchildren. Unique challenges can arise for grandparents when it comes to such situations. This is underscored in a recent study.

This research looked at and compared data regarding grandparent-led households and parent-led households. From this comparison, the researchers found that grandparents caring for grandchildren were generally more likely than parents to be facing certain challenges. These include:

  • Financial difficulties: Grandparents had a higher likelihood of being at or below the poverty line.
  • Health struggles: Grandparents had a greater likelihood of having more physical and mental health problems.
  • Youth behavioral problems: Grandparents were more likely to be caring for youth with behavioral issues.

However, in addition to pointing to some of the unique challenges grandparents can face when it comes to raising grandchildren, the study also found that grandparents are generally doing a pretty good job of handling such challenges. According to the study, grandparents tended to do just as well as parents when it comes to measures on caregiver-child interactions, parental stress and parental coping.

The study pointed to many grandparents who care for grandchildren (about 31 percent) feeling they did not have someone to go to for everyday emotional support.

Raising grandchildren can also present unique legal issues for grandparents. This includes child custody matters. It is important for grandparents to know that they do not have to try to get through these matters without support. They can go to skilled family law attorneys for help with responding to such legal issues. 

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