14. Almost 3 million grandparents in the United States are raising their grandchildren

Show Notes:

Episode 14 looks at the issue of grandparents raising their grandchildren.

That list of grandchildren includes former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, comedians Carol Burnett and Jamie Foxx, and musicians Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and 50 Cent (U.S. Grandparents Are Raising Millions of Kids, and It’s Tough | Health News | US News).

Across the United States today, grandparents are raising almost 3 million children (U.S. Grandparents Are Raising Millions of Kids, and It’s Tough | Health News | US News)

With approximately 1/3 of those children relying solely on their grandparents for support (23 Statistics on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – Father Matters).

Only 11% of grandparents are raising their grandkids because of the death of one or both of that child’s parents. (23 Statistics on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – Father Matters).

Drug addiction, especially to opioids, is the reason most grandparents are raising their grandchildren (Why More Grandparents Are Raising Children | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)).

Lisa Holliday, a grandmother who is raising her granddaughter, is today’s guest.

Lisa founded helpinggrandparents.com because when she stepped in to help her grandchild, she found few resources available for grandparents. She doesn’t want that for other grandparents who experience similar difficult times.

She has a Facebook group by the same name and offers a virtual support group to grandparents across the globe.
Facebook: Helping Grandparents

Three books she recommends (all copy from Amazon descriptions):

The Grandfamily Guidebook: Wisdom and Support for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Paperback – August 28, 2018
by Andrew Adesman (Author), Christine Adamec (Author)

Are you one of nearly 3 million grandparents across North America raising your grandchildren as part of a grandfamily? You may have done all this parenting stuff before, but times have changed since you raised your own kids, and you likely never thought you’d be raising kids again.

What has led to all these family issues and the growing need for grandparents to step up? Now more than ever, substance use and addiction have made many birth parents simply unfit for the job, whether the problem is alcohol, opioids, or other drugs. Family dynamics might also be undermined by parents’ mental health or medical problems, incarceration, or a simple lack of preparedness for family responsibilities. Whatever the reason for your new role, you must now help your grandchildren adjust to their extended family as part of their everyday life, through the best care you are able to provide. While your new role means that you will likely have to change the way you live, the kinship care you provide your grandchildren might make all the difference in the world.

In The Grandfamily Guidebook—which leading medical experts have called a “must-have” resource for grandparents raising grandchildren—authors Andrew Adesman, MD, and Christine Adamec offer expert medical advice, helpful insights gleaned from other grandparents, and data mined from the 2016 Adesman Grandfamily Study—the broadest and most diverse research study of its kind to date. You’ll also find hands-on tips you’ll be able to reference whenever you need them, including how to cope with difficult birth parents, school issues and social-life challenges, problem behaviors that stem from a difficult past, and your own self-care.

Starting with its foreword by the renowned Dr. William Sears, across this book you will find practical, inspiring help as you navigate the financial impacts, legal considerations, and medical issues that commonly arise when grandparents and grandchildren start becoming a grandfamily.

A Grandfamily for Sullivan: Coping Skills for Kinship Care Families Paperback – November 20, 2019
by Beth Winkler Tyson (Author), Adam Walker-Parker (Illustrator)

Are you caring for a child with BIG emotions related to loss and childhood trauma? A Grandfamily for Sullivan is a therapeutic story, designed with soothing imagery and sensitive language to help children cope with life after adverse childhood experiences (ACES). Sullivan is a scared koala who suddenly has to live with his Grandma when his parents are unable to keep him safe. He is worried about his parents and what will happen next in his life, but he is too afraid to talk to Grandma about his thoughts and feelings. One day at the park, Grandma tries to be helpful, but Sullivan lashes out at her in anger! While he is taking time to cool off, Sullivan meets a friend who walked in his shoes before. This new friend teaches Sullivan how to find the courage to move forward with his life.In this tenderhearted story, a child removed from his parents due to abuse and neglect can find hope using the same techniques that help Sullivan manage his thoughts and feelings. Throughout the story, children learn to: Identify sensations in their bodies related to negative emotions, build mindfulness skills for managing anxiety, find the courage to share their thoughts with others, understand that all families are different, and accept that life is often uncertain. A Grandfamily for Sullivan builds awareness for foster, kinship, and adoptive families, and teaches children how to empathize with peers from various family constellations. It is a must-read book to help reduce bullying and instill empathy for children who are raised by someone other than their biological parents. Come join Sullivan, his Grandma, and a wise friend as they weather the storms of life in this empowering story about family separation, courage, and what it’s like to become a grandfamily. A Grandfamily for Sullivan is a crucial resource for families broken apart by mental health issues, incarceration, and the opioid epidemic. But, this book is more than a story, it is empowering young people to take control of their mental health. In the back of the book there is a list of remarkable people who have been raised by grandparents or relatives, additional coping techniques for children, and trauma-informed parenting guidance.

Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas: Not Mommies and Daddies Hardcover – October 27, 2009
by Gayle Byrne (Author), Mary Haverfield (Illustrator)

Written from a child’s point of view, this touching picture book centers around a nontraditional family of grandparents raising their grandchild.
Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas shares a child’s experience living with and being cared for by grandparents through the eyes of a cheerful and delightful little girl. Uplifting watercolor illustrations give extra warmth to this caring and loving story, to which a growing number of children can identify―over 4.5 million children in the United States are primarily cared for by a grandparent.
Poignant moments expressing the child’s curiosity and questions give way to comforting and playful exchanges at home with Nonnie and Poppy. Spending the day with this grandparent–led family, we see that it’s not always Mommies or Daddies that care for children, and that’s okay!
Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas is the winner of the 2012 Book Award for Best Children’s Literature on Aging in the primary reader category from the The K-12 Committee of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). It provides a great resource for children who seek reassurance about their particular experience. This unique book will appeal to any grandparent raising or providing long–term care for a grandchild, as well as any teacher who wants to educate children about nontraditional families. Sometimes It’s Grandmas and Grandpas sensitively addresses a topic that has been nearly absent in the children’s book market, until now.

Support group
Parents of Addicted Loved Ones provides hope and support through addiction education for parents dealing with an addicted loved one.


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