Why are Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren

Table of Contents General Scenario of Grandparents Parenting GrandchildrenWhy Grandparents are Parenting Grandchildren?Reasons for Grandparents Parenting GrandchildrenPositive Aspects…
grandparents parenting grandchildren

Have you ever relived your life? A few grandparents parenting grandchildren are doing just that! They’ve to restart the task of parenting besides playing the role of a grandparent. Is that easy?

Some might say what’s the big deal? Grandparents have been parents themselves, so their second innings as parents should be a piece of cake. Well, it isn’t always so.

If you are a grandparent, you can well understand the challenges faced by grandparents parenting grandchildren. And if you are a parent, who was raised by grandparents, I’m sure you know exactly what the problems are of grandparents raising grandkids.

My heart goes out to all those millions of grandparents parenting grandchildren worldwide who sacrifice their personal life and ambitions, go through all the hardships and difficulties in doing things they never had in their plan.

This post is for all those grandparents raising their grandchildren, but it’s also for parents and to-be parents or just about anyone, as one day you would be a grandparent too!

“Grandparents are a family’s greatest treasure, the founders of a loving legacy, the greatest storytellers, and the keepers of traditions that linger on in cherished memory. Grandparents are the family’s strong foundation. Their very special love sets them apart. Through happiness and sorrow, through their special love and caring, grandparents keep a family close at heart.” ~Author unknown

I have lived for a long time with my paternal grandparents when my father was posted in a far-away area, and I am well aware of the challenges of grandparents raising grandchildren.

There are many fond childhood memories I have about my grandmother and her angelic acts. I clearly remember that many a times she would stuff us with all the goodies making us happy, a typical grandparent characteristic that I am sure most of you would also be able to relate to.

I think the most wonderful thing about grandparents and grandchildren is that their relationship is just so loving and giving in everything.


General Scenario of Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren

According to recent studies the primary role of grandparents as caregivers is a growing trend all over.

Although grandparents raising grandchildren is not something new, it was surprising to know that only in the US nearly 6.7 million kids are living in houses headed by grandparents or other relatives.

In nearly one-third of these families, the parents are not present and it’s only the grandparents parenting grandchildren with little or no help from others. Such families are often known as ‘grandfamilies’.

This is a matter of concern, if the primary reason for the grandparents to take over is the irresponsibility or incapability of the parents.  It does put an additional responsibility on their shoulders and make things tough for them, if grandparents commit to look after their grandchildren.

The number of grandchildren relying on their grandparents is on the rise globally, primarily due to the security of a home, and grandparents are taking on this responsibility even with work challenges of their own.

In some cultures of the world, as in India, there is a tradition of joint families where grandparents are already an integral part of the family providing support and guidance.

They’re not required to completely take up the task of upbringing their grandchildren; however, they may temporarily take charge to help, if need be.

The modern era did disintegrate some of these families into nuclear families, but the recent double income necessity of parents or their rising marital problems has revived the culture of joint families, or grandparents assisting in raising grandchildren in many countries.

I have an aunt who is a grandmother, and as her daughter and son-in-law are working parents, she has shifted to their place and taken up the entire responsibility of bringing up her grandchild.

Similarly, another of my known cousins is divorced and her son is permanently living with his paternal grandparents.

“Grandparents, like heroes, are as necessary to a child’s growth as vitamins.” ~ Joyce Allston

Why Grandparents are Parenting Grandchildren?

During my research on the topic, I did come across many people asking this question in the comments section:

Raising children is the duty of parents, so why do grandparents have to take on the task of parenting their grandchildren; didn’t their job get over with parenting their own kids?


Often it’s the parents who aren’t able bring up their kids due to various reasons or circumstances, and that is where grandparents usually step in because they love their grandchildren and wouldn’t want them to go elsewhere.

However, there are various other reasons for grandparents raising grandchildren as mentioned below.

Reasons for Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren

The role of grandparents has become more important and relevant as they are faced with the responsibility of caring and raising their grandkids for various reasons like the following:

  • To buffer the effects of parental death, illness, or disability.
  • To offer help during divorce, separation, or help single parents as there is an increase in the number of such families.
  • To reduce grandkid’s contact with parents with substance-abusing, or mental health problems.
  • To cater for a home-like experience, and shape their grandchildren’s personal and cultural identity.
  • To give support if either of the parent is imprisoned.
  • To help out during parental abuse or neglect.
  • To cater to the kids whose parents have abandoned them, or are on military deployment.
  • To help out their children during teen pregnancy.

Most of these families undergo a family crisis where the parent is incapable or unwilling to take care of the children.

Here the grandparents often take up the role of parents to keep children within the family, keep them out of the foster care system, and save them from further harm.

While grandparents are parenting their grandchildren, they face health, financial, housing, education, and work challenges that often spoil their retirement plans.

“A child needs a grandparent, anybody’s grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world.”  ~Charles and Ann Morse

Positive Aspects of Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren

There are lots of positive aspects of grandparents raising grandkids; one of them is the opportunity of grandparents and grandchildren to be able to have a closer relationship, which might not be if the kids lived with their parents.

Living in the same household, grandparents parenting grandchildren have the opportunity to pass on their memories, wisdom, stories, family and traditional history directly to their grandchildren.

When I stayed with my mother at my grandparents place, I got the wonderful experience of learning a lot from my grandparents and this enabled me to feel more connected to our family roots, learn more about its history, and develop a strong sense of belonging.

Grandparents parenting grandchildren have a wonderful opportunity to instill gratitude in children, to teach more about life and a better way to live, and have a chance to learn new and exciting things from them as well.

It is wonderful to have grandparents actively participate in raising their grandchildren. However, I feel that the bringing up part is entirely the responsibility of parents except for a few cases like where both parents are working, are away from home, or are imprisoned and other such cases.

Over to you

Do you have any experience or memory of your grandparents bringing you up? If you are a parent, to-be parent, or would be grandparent, what do you think are the pros and cons of grandparents raising grandchildren?

What has your role as a grandparent been in raising your grandkids? What would you say about the parents’ role in this whole issue and what are your views about grandparents parenting grandchildren?

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  1. Excellent post Harleena!

    Way back when the grandparents adopted an illegitimate child and everyone thought the child was theirs. Turns out that aunts and uncles were really cousins.Now girls don’t give up babies.

    You did mentions drugs etc. Good point . It seems that illegal drug use is on the rise. Meth labs are all over the place. So, where else to the little ones go?

    I raised one grandchild for a while when my daughter was deployed. Now, I am too pooped to pop. I just have the kids for a visit. Thank goodness my kids are all stable. I am plumb out of energy. Poor grandparents who pitch in with love.

    1. Hi Malika,

      Sorry to have missed your comment, though I’m glad I’m at it now 🙂

      Very true, though sometimes it turns out to be the other way round too. I think there is trouble in all areas and in such cases little ones have their grandparents, if not parents around to take care. I guess parent’s pass on the duty to the grandparents, who even take it up willingly, but they don’t realize all that the grandparents have to go through, it’s certainly not easy for them either, yet they do it because of the love they have for their children and grandchildren.

      Yes, there are lots and lots of grandparents I know who are going through a very rough time taking care of the young ones, and at their age, it’s not easy. Hats-off to them.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us 🙂

  2. I hadn’t even thought about the revival of this trend, Harleena.

    Like in India, Peruvians also grow up in households with various family members of different generations apart from the nuclear family. This is also the case in my Chinese culture and I’m grateful for the presence of my grandparents and other extended family members as I grew up. I was never solely raised by my grandparents, but they were an integral part of my life and I learned so much from them. There’s something about hearing their stories that rooted me in my family and made me proud to be a Bangayan. =)

    Thanks for having me reflect on this, friend! =)

    1. Nice to see you back again Samantha!

      Glad that you could relate to the post. Wonderful to know that the Chinese and Peruvian culture are quite similar to our culture where grandparents are present along with the other extended family members, which takes care of someone or the other looking after the kids even if the parents are busy working.

      When grandparents aren’t totally raising their grandkids, though are present around them being an integral part, it’s better for the grandparents as they can really enjoy their grandchildren rather than parenting or disciplining them. And yes, their presence ensures that grandchildren learn more about their roots, values, and traditions pretty well. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  3. Hi Harleena,

    Very interesting post. My experience with grandparents from when I was a kid, was that they did the opposite of what my parents did. The gave my gifts all the time, and candy and all sorts of food. I loved it 🙂

    I’m not sure if it runs in the family, but that’s exactly what it feels like that my parents are doing to my kids 🙂

    1. Glad you found the post interesting Jens!

      You are so right in saying that grandparents do just the opposite of our parents. I think they have all the right to spoil us and shower us with all the ‘restricted’ goodies. I think our parents try to discipline us and teach us the right from wrong, while grandparents know we already hear so much of that from our parents, so they just do the opposite to lighten us and make our day. 🙂

      It’s wonderful if it runs in your family too and your parents are doing the same with your kids. In fact I think most doting and loving grandparents would do just the same – it runs in the genes of all grandparents I think.

      Thanks for stopping by. Always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  4. I guess that it is more of a case of economic reasons. More often than not, both parents have to work in order to provide for the children. Another case is the case of my parents. They simply have a lot of time and more love to give, so they chose to take care of my children.

    1. Welcome to the blog Erin!

      It could be due to economic reasons, but that surely doesn’t mean that parents play no part in the bringing up of their own children. Agreed that both parents have to work to raise their kids, but if the children are small then either one of the parent can take up some part time job for a few years, and later switch back to full time.

      If that doesn’t work out then grandparents could come and stay over, so that they take charge only for the time parents are away, though we need to should ensure they have appropriate help at home to ease their work of raising kids.

      If that also doesn’t work and grandparents aren’t willing to leave their residence, then we need to take the help of baby-sitters or caretakers. I am sure there can be various other arrangements that can be made – isn’t it?

      Your case sounds different as your parents were wanting to spend the time looking after their grandkids, which is wonderful. However, I am sure they must be living with you to do the same, so that makes things much easier for everyone.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  5. Hi Harleena,

    I was just at dinner with one of my friends who works at a hospital. He was telling me how one of the patients they had yesterday was giving birth at just 11.

    Have we always been having these trends of younger mothers or is this new? Maybe the media just makes it more visible to us.

    It feels like with how long the economy has been suffering many parents are having to take on more responsibility for their children while the recent grads get settled. I’m sure this is leading to more help of these same parents with raising the grandkids.

    Great discussion.


    1. Glad you could resonate with the post Bryce!

      Gosh! That sure is shocking – giving birth at that young an age! Makes me really shudder at the thought all that she must have undergone, and how her parents must have reacted if they were around, or if they knew about it at all- so many thoughts come to mind!

      I think this trend of young mothers is new, and there are various reasons for that too. And with time passing and more uncalled for exposure of kids to social media, media, and other things, the age is decreasing. The media makes it visible perhaps to make us aware about it also so that we take action in our own way, or it’s an indication for parents to take charge of their responsibilities.

      Perhaps you are right and with things changing fast, grandparents are stepping in to help raise their grandkids. I just wish they weren’t left alone to bring them up with parents vanishing from the scene! I guess what matters most is that parents realize that their parents need a breather too, and if at all they are required to help raise their kids, then make proper arrangements for things to work smoothly.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  6. Hi Harleena – Another gem of a topic from you. I enjoyed reading through this and am very much impressed by your flow of ideas.

    As comparable to any other Indian born kid, my childhood memories is filled with being born and brought up in a joint family, having both grandparents not only taking care of us, but also addressing our needs. They were so sweet to be there for us when our parents were working and getting things done for the house.

    This really makes me take a while out and think back on their sacrifices for our happiness. Thanks for writing this up.

    1. Glad you liked the post Praveen!

      Thanks so much for your kind words about my work. I guess it pays off when your efforts are appreciated. 🙂

      Wonderful to know more about your upbringing and I think you had a great opportunity to have the best of both worlds! Those were good times when we lived within joint families, though I experienced that for 2-3 years when my dad was away. But it did teach us a lot about making adjustments with one another and caring for each another. And of course, the pleasure of getting pampered by your grandparents is always welcomed. 🙂

      In your case, your parents were very much present, though went for work part time and that was when your grandparents took over change. That is still acceptable, as the main responsibility lies with the parents and just as in all joint families – the other relative or grandparents take charge.

      However, I marvel at those grandparents who take full responsibility, due to whatever reasons, and raise their grandchildren without any support or help from the parents. Yes indeed, grandparents always do so much for their kids and grandkids, and their sacrifices are praise worthy.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. 🙂

  7. Harleena,

    What an in depth article! You always impress me with how much you put into your writings! I can not relate much with this article as I was not raised in any way by my grandparents and my children rarely even see theirs.

    However, I do see many grandparents raising their grandchildren these days on different levels of raising them. I think there are pros and cons, but honestly, I think grandparents should be relaxing more and enjoying their freedom. They worked so tirelessly raising their own children, I personally feel they deserve to be free of raising more children.

    But, I am thankful that many grandparents do step in for the sake of their grandchildren. Some of these children truly do benefit from this bond that they offer that some of their parents can not provide for one reason or another.

    Thanks for getting me to think Harleena about a topic that I barely give attention to. It is great to reflect. 🙂

    1. Glad you liked the detailed post Joanne!

      I try to give my best to each post, so that it is able to help people in some ways.

      I can well understand how the post doesn’t much relate to you, though perhaps you enjoyed your grandparents when you were younger so may have a few memories of them.

      Yes indeed, there are pros and cons about grandparents raising grandchildren as is visible in the comments the readers have left too. However, I also honestly feel that grandparents are happier left to play the role of grandparents and just sit back, relax, and play around with their grandkids. They have done their bit and much more in-fact than we can imagine, and now they need the time to themselves to enjoy their freedom and old age.

      Of course, when the need arises or situation demands, grandparents are the first ones to reach out and help – in most of the cases. I think they love their own kids whom they won’t like to see troubled or in pain, and their grandchildren too, who are the worst affected. And in such cases, it’s better that grandparents raise their grandchildren, rather than them going to foster homes or other such places.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  8. Hi, Harleena!

    My view is that as long as the children get taken cared of well, it’s all good. Hopefully, this doesn’t cause significant problems to grandparents (financial, health related and so on).

    Sometimes it’s better to have this situation, rather than busy parents that are never around or worse…It’s really a challenge to ensure a peaceful childhood to your little one nowadays.

    1. Welcome to the blog Debi!

      While you are right about the kids being taken care of, it does cause financial, and other problems to grandparents, if they have to raise the grandchildren all on their own with no support or help from the parents. After all isn’t it the responsibility and duty of the parents to raise their own kids?

      Sometimes if the parents are busy working, then things can be worked out where grandparents could take over to look after their grandkids, though should ideally have enough helping hands to share their chores. And I feel this should not be a permanent task for grandparents as they also need this time in their old age to relax and take it easy, and just enjoy being grandparents.

      Another option can be where one of the parents works only part time till their child is old enough and then takes on working full time. There is always an option of baby-care centers, or keeping baby-sitters at home, or making other such arrangements for your children. And grandparents can play a part by supervising the overall scenario of things, instead of parenting the kids fully on their own, which becomes tedious for them.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  9. My grandparents played a parenting role for three years when I was six years old. The reason behind was to help my parents, who were extremely busy jump-starting their medical careers, while studying, as well. All in all it was a very positive experience. I guess a scenario in which they play this parenting role for a limited period of time, while parents take over at some point is a very fortunate one…

    1. Welcome to the blog Diane!

      Nice to know how your grandparents came forward to help your parents when they had such a busy career. And yes, you too must have enjoyed them raising you up.

      I guess when grandparents help raising their grandchildren for a short duration to help out their kids, it’s still acceptable, as the full burden isn’t really on them. Just as in your case, your parents eventually took over the charge as soon as their medical studies were over.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  10. When I was a kid my granny was parenting my 4 cousins because they are already orphans that time. Until my cousins got married our granny was still there supporting them. All the mothers work granny did for them. They are very lucky that our granny loves them. Until granny passed away they had a hard time.
    I think grandparents are more than parents to their grandchildren.

    1. Welcome to the blog Becca!

      Nice to know more about your granny and that she took over the task of parenting four of your cousins, because they were orphans. That is truly remarkable as she supported them right till they got married.

      I guess they must be loving and respecting her, and remembering her fondly for all the sacrifices she made for them. Yes indeed, grandparents are more than parents to their grandchildren in such cases.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  11. I love my grandparents! They have a profound way of taking care of their grandchildren. I remember during my childhood days, my mother would drop me off to my grandparents’ house and I would spend the whole day with them. It was a joyful memory.

    1. Welcome to the blog Cleo!

      Oh yes…I think most of us do love our grandparents for all that they do for us. Nice to know that you have such wonderful memories of them when your mom used to leave you with them. I think that must be the best time for you to really get pampered by them, and enjoy being with them.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  12. Hi Harleena,

    Interesting topic and a very relevant one.

    I’ve only ever known my nan and Gran, with both grand fathers passing away before I was born.

    My Gran, on my mothers side lived in Ireland and we could only get over there a couple of times during my upbringing. Once when I was a small child, that I don’t remember and once when I was 14 years old. My Gran and I connected straight away and I fell in love with her the first time I met her (aged 14).

    My nan, on my fathers side lived just 10 miles down the road but when my (so called) father ran off with another woman leaving my mum to raise the 5 children the whole of his (so called father) family also stopped calling or looking out for us. We were just dropped like hot bricks.

    The only family we saw after they separated was an Irish Aunt who would come visiting every other summer. If I had been asked if I wanted to live with any of my Grandparents I would have chosen only my Gran, as I said Harleena we connected.

    I was a little tear away when I was a child and was taken into care for a while where I saw kids that had been dumped by their parents. At weekends when i would, on occasion, get a visit from my brother I could see the pain on these other kids faces for never been visited.

    That pain grew inside many of them and they went on to jail, drink, drugs and loads more heart ache. All because their so called parents weren’t adult enough to stand up to their responsibilities.

    Now I’m 48 and have 2 children of my own. If they had kids and needed me and my wife to assist in their children’s upbringing I would offer without question. If my children were wasters (which they’re not) then I would also step in and help, take full charge or what ever was needed.

    I realise that there are many reasons for Grandparents bringing up their Grandchildren, death, services, health etc and I think everyone of them is to be praised, assisted and applauded.

    What i can’t stand is for parents to pass the buck and leave it for others to pick up their pieces, much as my so called father did, and this really does disgust me. Especially when they make good kids bad by just not caring enough, as I said I’ve seen them go onto jail, drink, drugs, death….. All very sad as it was someone else’s lack of responsibility that brought all of that about.

    Great topic Harleena, stirred some old memories.

    Hats off to every Grandparent that saves a child from the scrap heap 🙂


    1. Welcome to the blog Barry – nice to have you over!

      Glad you could resonate with the post, though sorry to hear that you didn’t really have the chance to enjoy your grandfathers.

      Nice to know about your Gran and how fond you are of her. And what you underwent is something that is common at our end too, where relatives turn their backs as soon as either of the parent leaves or dies. It does make me wonder as to how and why people turn so insensitive, when that is the toughest phase and you need them the most. However, at least you had an Irish Aunt who must have compensated a little in her own ways for your Nan.

      It seems you did undergo a lot and have seen a great deal in your childhood. Being under care and seeing all the other kids deprived of their parents love must have had its effect on you, though you did have your elder brother come over sometimes. It does sadden me a great deal and makes me wonder as to why and how can parents just leave their kids and turn away from their responsibilities, unless of course there is a compulsion.

      Because you have undergone and experienced so much, you are right in thinking about parenting your grandchildren (when you have them), if you were needed to. I think no grandparent would ever really say no to raising their grandchildren if the need rises, no matter what the circumstances (but for a few exceptions like your Nan).

      Yes indeed, every grandparent who is raising their grandchildren for whatever reasons is praise worthy for it’s not an easy task to do things they do at their age. However, parents do need to take on their own responsibility and those who are not, they need to start taking care of their own kids rather than putting it onto others.

      The kids are the ones who are affected the most from such kind of issues, which as you mentioned, lands them to taking drugs, or going to jail, drinks or death. I guess they are not be blamed for their state, and need their parents love and guidance.

      I am sorry if the post stirred up some bad memories that wasn’t intended. And yes, hats-off to every grandparent who is helping out their grandchild by parenting them and bringing them up. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It’s a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  13. Hi Harleena – Very interesting topic.

    I was just thinking about how different grandparents of the past are to those of today. My grandparents were loving and concerned but not involved in a huge way in my upbringing. However, these days I see that grandparents are almost expected to play a big role in their grandchildren’s life. I know of grandparents who are expected to put their lives on hold or live half lives as they keep moving back and forth from India to take care of their grandkids!

    1. Glad you could relate to the post Corinne!

      Yes indeed, that is an interesting point to think about because there is a huge difference to how grandparents of the past were as compared to the ones today. I think in the earlier days they were more free to play the real role of grandparents and enjoy their grandchildren. But with changing times, grandparents now have to take care of the grandchildren as well and that hardly leaves them much time to really enjoy them.

      Your grandparents seem similar to mine, as they too were always around when we needed to be pampered or just loved spoiling us thoroughly. Other than that, my grandparents were never involved in my parenting or upbringing, nor did my parents feel the need to leave us at our grandparents for bringing us up.

      I too have relatives and cousins whose parents have to move to and fro and look after their grandchildren, even within our country! And one of my aunt is literally living with her daughter while her husband lives elsewhere in their own house, just so that her daughter and son-in-law can carry on working.

      It surely does make me wonder as to why parents don’t see the comfort of their own parents and give them that relaxed time in their old age, instead of asking them to baby sit or parent their kids. I am sure there could be other alternatives for taking care of their children.

      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  14. I was raised by my grandmother, and it was great.

    I lived with her until I was almost 5 years old. She was my second mum, or I might say my first mother. I sometimes feel sad, but not that I regret the fact that I lived with my grandparents. My sadness comes from the fact that I have lived it as an abandonment from my parents.

    My children are now very close to their grandfather, and they were close to my mother too. Both my parents showed my children much more affection than they did to my sisters and I.

    I wrote a post on my blog about my grandmother-

    1. Welcome to the blog Nikky & glad you could relate to the post!

      Nice to know that you value your grandmother and think so fondly of her. I guess when you are abandoned at that young an age, you are confused or rather, don’t really recognize anyone else other than the one who raised you. It is natural for you to think of your grandmother as your mom, whom you never really saw till much later I guess.

      Your children surely must be having a wonderful time with their grandfather, and they also may have realized their mistakes or the regrets they may have had when they left you for some time when you were young. I guess this makes them connect up better with your kids, much more than what they did with you and your sister.

      All that matters at the end is that they learnt from their past mistakes I think, and now are loving and doting grandparents to your kids. So, value and love them for who and what they are. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing that link about your grandmother, which is wonderful indeed. 🙂

  15. What a wonderful blog, Harleena.

    Your post about grandparents raising grandchildren struck a chord within me. We are raising our teenage granddaughter for the last two years. I was so looking forward to retiring! As disabled grandparents, this job has been real hard on us. But what is the worth of a child? Priceless.

    After all of the legal hassle, hiring lawyers, court appearances, and most of all trying to undo what our daughter had done to our precious granddaughter – I will say it’s all worth it. When all is said and done it won’t be where we got to travel in our retirement, how much money we had, or our accumulations that mattered. We all will have to answer for what we did or didn’t do for our family.

    When our granddaughter graduates from college and well on her way to the career of her dreams; when she is stable in ever way and gives of herself for the betterment of mankind, I will say every frustrating minute was so worth it.

    I just wish that there was more support and financial assistance for grandparents.

    Thanks for all you do.


    1. Welcome to the blog Jill – nice of you to drop by. 🙂

      Glad the post struck a chord within you. I can well understand what you must be undergoing Jill. It surely isn’t easy raising grandchildren, and being a teenage grandchild surely adds to more worries. But like you mentioned so beautifully that what is worth of a child – indeed priceless, which must be the reason that despite of your disability you are doing a wonderful job of raising her for the past 2 years.

      I can’t really say much as I don’t know the full history about your daughter and what actually happened, though I realize there must have been a serious issue or compulsion that you had to take this drastic step.

      But yes, hats-off to you for taking up the initiative to get your granddaughter with you and on track once again. The legal hassles, and all that you must be undergoing must be frustrating and tiring for you at your age, but I like your spirit to go on and do things for your family.

      You are absolutely right about saying that no one really notices how much money you collected, or what you did for your retirement plans etc. but yes, what you did for your grandchild will always be remembered. And I am sure when shes well on her way to success, she would be ever so grateful for all the sacrifices you made for her. That would make your struggle worthwhile.

      I also wish there was some ways where financial assistance could be given to the ones in need, though joining support groups and connecting with other people in similar situations does help.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. It was wonderful to meet through LinkedIn here, and this is just a small effort to make the parents realize, and value the grandparents more. 🙂

  16. It seems to me that grandparents in many ways are more capable than parents to raise children. It is unfortunate for those who just wanted their freedom in old age. But it is good that someone can raise the children if the parents are unable / unwilling.

    I was fortunate to have two pretty good parents. They have their problems for sure, but they definitely got through it all and raised three kids.

    I’m glad I was part of this family. There were no grandparents for me, they all passed away when I was at a young age or before I was born. I had one ‘adopted’ grandparent and she was wonderful.

    Glad you wrote this post to remind us all of the values of family and grandparents in particular.

    1. Quite right David!

      Yes, grandparents are experienced in a lot of things as compared to parents, because they have already raised their own kids. However, nowadays with the changing trend, even the parenting ways have changed to a certain extent. Sometimes, kids don’t like the ways of their grandparents or find their ways or methods old, so in such cases it’s best that parents look after their own kids, though seek the help and guidance from their own parents.

      However, if the parents are unable to raise their own kids, there can be no better choice than the grandparents doing the needful. But I do wonder why some parents are unwilling to parent their own kids, and that is a matter of concern that they must reconsider.

      Nice to hear about your family and your upbringing. Yes, you were surely lucky to have wonderful parents and never felt the need for grandparents to raise you, or perhaps there as no one as they passed away rather early, as you mentioned.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. 🙂

  17. This is quite a touchy subject for me, Harleena.

    Before I say why, let me also say that in Russia a lot of kids are parented by grandparents because parents are required to work long hours. This is seen as a natural thing to do because the grandparents are retired (mostly) and they’re seen almost as second parents to kids. I suppose when this is a norm (like in India and certain parts of South America where I grew up) it’s not such a great deal. In England this is also becoming prevalent. When I pick up my youngest from school I see many grand parents picking up their grand kids from school.

    To be honest, I don’t want to have full or part time care of my grand kids – God willing when I have them. I’ve sacrificed a whole lot to bring up my kids myself (not having had help from relatives, grandparents, child-minders etc). I wanted to do this myself so I put my life on hold happily. However, once I’m done, I want to be done. I want to have a spoiling grand-mother role where I don’t have to do the ‘raising of the kids’ thing again.

    Coming back to my first point, you’ll see when my inspirational memoir comes out later in Spring, my grandmother gave me the most hellish childhood of abuse and mental torture. I have nothing good to say about my personal experience with being brought up by a grandparent. Sorry…

    1. Glad you could resonate with the post Anne!

      I can well understand the reasons as to why some kids in certain areas of the world are still parented by their grandparents, and it’s quite understandable to help out when their kids need their help. However, this is workable if and when the grandparents are living with their own children, and not when their kids are not on the scene or have left their own kids to be looked after by their parents.

      At our end too, if grandparents are living within a family, they do take care of the grandkids in their own way, which is acceptable. This is because as parents, we are also here to look after them, even though we may be working outside or going out of the house for some chores. The kids aren’t just left off at their grandparents place for total care, so that makes a lot of difference.

      Similar to you, there would be many parents who would prefer playing the role of a grandparent and would want to enjoy their grandchildren rather than raising them. And I feel that is how it should be because they have played their role as parents many years back, and at this age and stage, they do need a breather – isn’t it?

      Sorry to hear about your experience with your grandmother, which I guess made you realize a lot of things that you wouldn’t want to repeat with your grandkids. So, taking the positive perspective, that phase taught you a great deal about grand-parenting too, though that time it must have been really bad.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with everyone. 🙂

  18. Hi Harleena,

    Well, my memories of grand parents is a very far away one. On my father side both my grand parents were already dead by the time I was born, since they had my father at what I would call an already advanced age.

    On my mother side, my grand-mother died when I was 3 years old, my grand-father died when I was 4 and my father died when I was 5. I have very little bits of memories of them.

    I wish I would have grown up having grand parents that’s for sure. Heck, I wish I had grown up with a father as well. But life decided otherwise.

    I did grow up with a wonderful mother and aunt. My mother always loved her two kids to death and did every she could to make up for anything we’d lost. Even though my family was struck by one family member dying every year for 3 years in a row, we coped very well, I would say, and we had a pretty good and happy childhood.

    Thank you for recognizing, grand parents as they are so important in the family.

    1. Glad you could relate to the post Sylviane!

      Sorry to hear that you never had the chance to enjoy your grandparents, though may have just faint memories of them I guess. I can well understand what you must feel about the loss of a dad in your life, something that I can’t ever imagine and can be just grateful that I have a wonderful one.

      Yes indeed, with the loss of one parent, the other takes full charge. I had my aunt too who lost her husband at a young age and was left with two small kids to bring up. She never remarried because of those kids, who have now turned out to be wonderful adults, thanks to her dedication and will-power. Hats-off to such courageous women. 🙂

      I guess they don’t want their kids to feel the loss of one parent, so make sure they give them everything to the best of their abilities to make their lives worthwhile. However, sometimes they tend to go overboard and pamper or spoil the kids so much that it leads to problems later in life. Not their fault exactly because they don’t want to deny their kids things that their loss spouse would have given or done for them, and sometimes don’t realize the repercussions it will have later.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your own experiences with everyone. 🙂

  19. Harleena, aloha.

    This topic speaks to the virtual epidemic of grandparents parenting grandchildren. While sometimes there are deaths that cause the children to lose their parents, it seems that more often than not the children are irresponsible as noted by Adrienne above or there are substance abuse issues which create the necessity for grandparents to care for the children.

    To my way of thinking, it would be ever-so-much better if more grandparents were able to stay in the grandparent role. When grandparents become parents, the grandchildren miss out on having true grandparents.

    One of the aspects I so enjoy about your posts, Harleena, is the way you tie so many of them back to your family, your experiences which then inspires your readers to respond in kind. There are some wonderful sentiments about grandparents shared in the comments section.

    Best wishes to you, Harleena, for a terrific week ahead. Until next time, aloha. Janet

    1. Glad you could resonate with the post Janet!

      I liked your word ‘epidemic’ of grandparents parenting grandchildren, which is indeed the trend nowadays. Somethings like deaths, or other such calamities are understood as reasons enough for grandparents to look after their grandchildren, but other factors where parents are largely to blame, are simply not acceptable I feel.

      You are absolutely right about saying that grandparents ought to be left to simply enjoy being grandparents to their grandchildren, rather than disciplining or parenting them. I think at their age, this is the least they deserve – isn’t it? I am sure even the grandchildren wouldn’t want their grandparents to parent them if given the chance, and would love being pampered and loved by them.

      Thank you so much for those kind words Janet, which is indeed true! I have so much to share about my life and personal experiences that am sure people would learn a great deal from. If I do come across some things that are common with me, I do include them in the post, or perhaps I relate best to those topics of discussions, because I have undergone them myself. Nothing speaks better than a voice of experience! I know I may be wrong many a times in my judgement or decision of things, but I try and share all that is to the best of my knowledge, with the hope that it helps someone, sometime. 🙂

      I am so grateful to the wonderful readers of the blog who leave their comments and share their experiences with everyone, as I feel when we are able to share our sentiments and feelings with one another, we are able to connect better.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

      Have a wonderful week ahead as well 🙂

    2. I am a single grandparent raising one adolescent grandson who has lived with me since age 3 years. My son died 8 years ago and the child’s mother is emotionally and financially unstable. My grandson has multiple mental health issues which makes it challanging to parent him.

      Many grandparents are in a similiar situation as learning disabilities and mental health issues are more commonplace with these children. Some of you have talked about the responsibility of the parents but situations are not always what they appear to be on the surface. Many of the parents suffer from the same mental health impairments.

      Overall, a person with mental health issues is not often recognized because they “look” normal. Therefore, they go through their lives being pegged as behavior problems, lazy, irresponsible, drug addicted, etc. . when in fact, these are often the consequences of some other problem. It’s easy to judge a situation based on what you see, but often these situations are very complicated.

      1. Welcome to the blog Nelson!

        You are indeed right in saying that often we judge a situation based on what we see or what we read and hear from others, whereas the person undergoing the situation knows how it really is.

        It is sad to hear about your situation and all that you are undergoing to parent a grandson who has multiple mental health issues, and have been doing so single handed for so many years. Worse still is that his mother isn’t stable enough either emotionally or financially, and perhaps the reason for the emotional instability may be the loss of your son.

        Where problems like you mentioned of mental instability occur and if parents are unable to look after their own children, it is but natural for the grandparents to take over the role of parents. The point about mental health problems was mentioned as one of the valid reasons in the post too, and it’s quite understandable.

        However, I wonder if there can be some ways that such kids can get better if the mental illness is not that serious, as you mentioned that often such illnesses are the consequences of some other problems. And would things like a change of place, or new friends, or joining a school with similar kids, or even a new father as in your grandsons case may have a good impact on him and his mother too.

        Often we aren’t able to see beyond our own problems and the present situation we are in, though a change of atmosphere or people can make a lot of difference too to help people get out of their mental illnesses.

        Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. You are surely doing a commendable task of raising your grandson single handed. 🙂

  20. According to my research grand parents always love their grand children as they see the picture of their children in their grand children. This chain of love and blessing of God.

    1. Quite right Azam!

      The love that grandparents have for their grandchildren cannot really be expressed in words, but yes, they do see the picture of their own kids in their grandchildren whom they find more dearer.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  21. Great post!

    I love my grandparents and know I’d take them in if they needed me. You have some interesting comments, long ones and some long replies! Very awesome!

    1. Glad you could relate to the post Jodi!

      Nice to know that you think so fondly about your grandparents, who are indeed a blessing to have in your family. My memories of my grandparents are crystal clear in my heart and mind, because they were so wonderful to me and have taught me a great deal in their own way.

      Oh yes – the readers of the blog are awesome with their comments and I also do try and match up with their comments through my replies. I guess when we are not able to meet face-to-face, such comments and replies acts as a nice medium to communicate our thoughts with one another. It’s like a heart to heart discussion – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  22. I can’t help thinking that when I had my son, I was completely ill-equipped to be a parent. I was irresponsible, immature, had poor judgment and could barely take care of myself, let alone this little human being. How easy it would have been for me to simply give my baby to my mom and move on with my life, never growing up and never making any changes… except for one thing: My mother never would have let me. I grew up in a hurry after that.

    While I understand that most grandparents who are raising their grandchildren do so because they fear for their grandchild thanks to the incompetence and immaturity of the parent, I can’t help thinking that they are enabling their own children to continue being irresponsible. I knew my mother would never let me give up my child for her to raise. Simply knowing that that wasn’t an option changed the course of my life.

    1. Welcome to the blog Amelia – nice to have you over!

      I can well relate to what you mentioned about mothering your first baby at that young an age, as I have a few cousins who underwent the same situation as yours. And what you mother did for you that time, though it may have seemed strict, was a wonderful way to teach you how to handle things on your own, which otherwise you wouldn’t have known.

      Yes, it would have been the easier solution to hand over your son to your mom and lead a carefree life, but that wouldn’t have been right and you too wouldn’t have bonded with your own son as you do now. Nor would you have learnt how to parent him as you do now – isn’t it?

      You are quite right about saying that some grandparents do enable their won kids to be irresponsible by accepting to parent their kids. However, sometime it’s their own kids who just take off, or land themselves into a troublesome situation where the grandparents are left with no option but to help out and look after their grandkids, who suffer the most.

      Your mom sounds quite similar to my mom, as she also used to make sure that I learn things on my own, rather than doing them for me or spoon-feeding me. And I am happy that she did that, because now I know that all I have learnt and achieved is because she was like that with me- though that time one does feel bad. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. 🙂

  23. Good post Harleena.

    I have two experiences at both ends of the spectrum here. When I was small, and up until her death my grandmother lived with us. We actually shared a bedroom. So, of course she had a strong hand and major influence in my upbringing, as well as my concept of what women were capable of. That was a very different time, when extended families stayed together and cared for “their own.” We forged a bond and a special kind of love that continues to serve me well, over 50 years after her death.

    Several years ago, I took care of my oldest granddaughter for a year while her mother was “unavailable.” She was about 5 at the time. It started out very stressfully for both of us. I had to fly in to pick her up, and she didn’t know me very well. In light of the fact that my own children were adults, I had was long accustomed to my solitary life. This required getting a nanny, finding a pre0school, etc, etc. Things I had not done in a long time. The road got smoother for us as the year progressed. When her mother was available again, I returned her daughter to her. This year together has left a great bond between us, which would not exist otherwise. I am grateful for the opportunity to have been available to her in her time of need, but never felt it my responsibility to assume the role of her parent beyond that.

    1. Welcome to the blog Martina – nice to have you over!

      Nice to learn more about your grandmother and how you bonded so well with her, because you lived together I think for a long time. It’s quite similar to my situation when I stayed with my grandparents too, as that brought me very close to them. I guess we can never really forget those days and all that we learnt directly or indirectly from them – can we?

      It’s wonderful to know that you took those stressful days as opportunities to bond better with your granddaughter, something that is indeed rare for grandparents – isn’t it? But yes, it must have been traumatic for her initially as she didn’t know you too well and for you as well, because you had to make arrangements for her nanny, schooling, and other things. It surely must have reminded you of your parenting days!

      I am glad that now you are back to playing your role of a grandparent, and this is something that still works well as you are parenting your grandchild for some time and helping out your children in time of their need. It’s not something you have to do forever or continuously or it may have burdened you too.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. 🙂

  24. My grandparents all died before I was born. I was always so jealous of friends who had doting grandparents. However, I did have an older aunt who was like a surrogate grandparent.

    On the other side, my daughter and grandson now live with me. I won’t say I’m parenting my grandson because my daughter is an excellent parent. But she is young and needs some extra support right now.

    This is a growing phenomenon, as you say. It is hard for me to imagine being the primary parent for a baby at my age. I’m grateful that my daughter lets me be a grandma.

    1. Glad you could relate to the post Galen!

      Sorry to hear that you lost your grandparents before you were born, which must have made you envy your friends who had them because they are truly a blessing in the family.

      Nice to know that your grandson and daughter live with you, and that is wonderful indeed as you can see so much more of your grandchild now. Yes indeed, in this case even though they are living with you, but your daughter is taking good care of her son, who is surely having the best of both worlds! Reminds me of my time with my grandparents too!

      You would be best person to relate to this issues as you can imagine how it would have felt if you had to parent your grandson all alone! It does have its problems, though am glad you are presently just loving having him around and being a doting grandma instead.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with everyone. 🙂

  25. Hi Harleena,

    Another wonderful and thought-provoking post! As with everything there are two sides, pros and cons. Quite honestly I would not want to have to raise my grandchildren. (Don’t have any yet.) But if I was forced to because of circumstances of course I would.

    The reason for it, I have gone through raising kids once. It’s not an easy job and it’s even more difficult when you are older. I think grandparents are there to spoil the grandkids rotten and then give them back to their parents. Sweet payback! 🙂

    I admire those people who are raising their grandkids whatever the reason. I have the utmost respect for them. Bless their hearts! Those are the true saints…and I just hope their children appreciate it.

    Thanks for this wonderful post, Harleena! Always love to come here.

    Have a great weekend!


    1. Glad you liked the post Ilka!

      I agree that there are always two sides of the same coin, and pros and cons exist on this issue as well. So, if and when circumstances are such and nothing seems possible, grandparents would always come to the rescue. I guess their heart is divided between their own kids and see them suffer, and their grandkids who are also affected.

      Nice to know that you are experienced in raising kids, and that must have made you realize their plight. And yes, just as you mentioned, when you are older and aging, looking after kids or taking care of them is all the more difficult. I am sure they would enjoy playing and spoiling their grandkids, rather than disciplining them or doing chores for them.

      I remember my mom used to always tell my granny what you mentioned above, that you always spoil them and send them back home and it takes us ages to get them back on track! I guess that’s why we loved to stay at our grandparents place for the pampering and the special attention we used to get, and am glad my kids do the same with my parents 🙂

      Totally agree with you Ilka and hats-off to all those wonderful and dedicated grandparents who are parenting their grandchildren – for whatever reasons. Just the fact they have taken up this responsibility speaks a great deal about their effort and love for their own kids and grandkids. I too hope that these grandchildren learn to value and respect them for their efforts when they grow up, it would make their lives worthwhile.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and adding more value to the post. It is always a pleasure to have you over as well Ilka. 🙂

  26. I love my grandparents dearly and when I was small they did a lot for me and they still do now. I hate that I’m so far away from them so I can’t look after then properly how I’d like so I’m moving back to the area to be closer to them in a few months.

    1. Glad you think fondly of your grandparents Harriet!

      I guess it’s the gratitude and the grateful feeling you have for your grandparents and how they looked after you when you were young that you want to move back to them now. It’s sounds like a wonderful idea if you can manage it, and would surely make them happy.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  27. Interesting topic Harleena and I think it’s kind of sad.

    My Mom’s neighbor across the street is parenting her grandchildren. Her daughters keep getting pregnant and are not equipped to raise their children both mentally and financially. In all honesty, neither is the grandmother. Her husband is sick and can no longer work and she’s never worked outside the home before. She is good with kids I will give her that but sometimes love just isn’t enough.

    I think that a lot of grandparents finally reach that age that they can start relaxing and enjoying life because let’s face it, they deserve it. After working all their lives and raising their own families they deserve that. But with the way the economy is and young adults making horrible decisions, most grandparents are not going to let anything happen to their grandkids. Therefore they will definitely step in and do whatever it takes to make sure they are raised properly.

    It’s becoming quite the norm I’m afraid. I’m thankful my parents never had to step in and they were able to enjoy their lives and their grandkids.

    Thanks for sharing this Harleena, it’s becoming more aware as the years go by.


    1. Nice to know that you found the topic interesting Adrienne!

      It is indeed sad to read about your Mom’s neighbor and her daughters- she surely is going through a lot. With a sick husband at home and kids like this, and with no work nor source of income, I wonder how does she manage?

      You are right by saying that even though grandparents are good with taking care of the kids, that isn’t sufficient. They need the exact kind of arrangements, funds, energy, and mental attitude to take care of their grandchildren. I wonder if her daughters are married, and if so, what about their husbands? Aren’t they working or earning enough to support their own families?

      Grandparents have lived and worked all through their lives for their kids, and to make a future for them. But yes, at the end of the day, they deserve that kind of relaxed free time to sit and enjoy life. However, just as you mentioned, with the way kids are turning out nowadays and the economy taking the better of us – grandparents are the ones who are burdened most. I guess they just can’t see their own kids suffer, and reach out to take care of the grandkids.

      I do wish that parents realize what they are doing and learn to take responsibility of their own children. Yes, grandparents are always there to help in time of need, but that doesn’t mean that we take advantage of this fact till it’s absolutely essential.

      It sure is becoming a norm nowadays, though just like you, I am glad we grew up with loving grandparents and parents and were truly away from all this. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure to have you over. 🙂

  28. Intriguing topic, Harleena.

    Of course, you know that my grandmother had a very strong hand in my upbringing. For many of the reasons you named in this post. I consider myself lucky to have had her take such an active role in my life. I honestly don’t know where I would be, or even who I would be, had she not stepped in when she did.

    My mother had three boys, and out of the three of us I am the oldest. I was the only one that graduated high school, and the only one that has never done any prison time. I believe that I have my grandmother to thank for that.

    She also was the voice that encouraged me to go after my dreams. She taught me to give it my best try, even when I wanted to give up out of fear of failing. At the time it was to become a professional singer. I’m not sure if I was ever good enough to become a professional, but she put so much confidence in me, I was never afraid to do so. Even to this day, if asked I will sing my heart out; rarely taking into consideration if I can or not. 😀

    I think most grandparents that raise kids feel they are being given a second chance to get it right, what they might not have gotten right with the children’s parents. I say this, because I see the similarities I possess as my aunts and uncles, but I also can see a huge difference. Not better or worse, just different.

    This was a great topic, and one that is becoming a popular one in society. Thank you for bring it to the forefront. 🙂

    1. Glad you could resonate with the topic Deeone!

      I know what a wonderful and brave lady your grandmother must have been to bring you up, and you are indeed lucky that she was an integral part of your life. I guess that’s the reason you are you today- evolving and getting better daily 🙂

      Nice to know about your brothers and you sure have your grandmother to thank for all that she has done to raise you to this level! I too wonder that had she not been there for you when you most needed her, what would really have happened. I don’t think you would have come this far, nor gone after your dream. I guess she gave you that ‘push’, which is needed when we are young to frame our destinies for the future.

      Professional singer! Ah…that’s news to me Deeone! I guess we would have to hear you sing one day, and as your grandmother thought you could become one means you do have something worth listening to. 🙂

      I can just manage to sing free style when I am bathing! Other than that listening to music and may be humming a few lines are good enough for a breather and get-away break! But it would be nice to hear it from you too – perhaps someday!

      You are absolutely right about saying that most grandparents take it as a second chance, thinking that they can devote more time to their grandchildren, which they weren’t able to do so with their own kids and turn things right. However, I do wish that parents would learn to take more responsibility for their own kids and not burden the grandparents much. But yes, if the grandmother is as wonderful as yours, I think every parent would prefer that their parents raise their kids!

      It sure is becoming a trend nowadays and something that parents should consider.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your own experiences with everyone. 🙂

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