The numbers of grandparents raising their grandchildren full time is growing steadily. Raising kids the second time around certainly presents new challenges, particularly because older adults often have their own set of medical, financial, and emotional concerns. But recent evidence suggests that those grandparents are overcoming the challenges of child-rearing just as well as biological and adoptive parents. A study presented recently at the American Academy of Pediatrics 2018 National Conference found that grandparents and parents showed little difference in measures of parent coping, parenting stress, or caregiver interactions with the children in their care. What makes the findings even more remarkable is that many kids who are being raised by their grandparents have been through difficult emotional or sometimes physical trauma before making a new home for themselves. While grandparents seem to be up to the challenge, the study also found that one-third of those raising their grandkids reported that they had no one to turn to for day-to-day emotional support with parenting. Researchers suggest that these “grandfamilies” look for support programs in their communities. In addition, health-care providers for both the children and their grandparents should be ready to recommend counseling, given the unique challenges of this family structure.
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