More Single Parents Leads to Hands-On Grandparents

As society changes and more parents are forced to go back to work, statistics show that grandparents are taking a more active role in the raising of their grandchildren.  According to a 2010 study, one in every 10 children lives in the same home as their grandparents, an estimated 7.7 million children total.  For the most part, children were in the grandparent’s home rather than the other way around.

Although grandparents have typically played a pivotal role in the lives of their grandchildren, an unprecedented number are actually caring for and raising them.  According to the same study, close to 20% of these grandparents live below the poverty line, and Hispanic and black grandmothers are more likely to live with grandchildren than their white counterparts.  Also, black grandmothers are more likely to be the primary caregiver to the children.

A Devastating Recession and Changes

The study points to the 2007 recession as a big part of the reason for this shift in numbers.  Many parents simply can’t afford to maintain a household, or rely on grandparents for child care and find that it’s easier to live in the same home.  Although most adults shudder at the thought of moving back in with their parents, both the children and the adults can benefit from these arrangements for short periods of time.

Benefits of Living with Grandparents

Aside from the obvious benefit of spending more time with your loved ones, researchers suggest that both parents and grandparents can benefit from these living arrangements.

Many families are able to reduce housing costs by adding another individual to the family budget.  Single mothers and grandmothers may have a difficult time making the rent without the help of family members.

Single moms are able to work more when they have child care right at home, reducing the poverty level of both sides of the equation.  Moms may feel better about leaving their children for long periods of time when they know they are being watched by their grandparents.

Single parents also benefit from the in-house babysitting and child care they receive when they live with their parents.  Children are left with a blood relative rather than a paid sitter.

Stepping up and Helping out

Regardless of the reasons for the rising numbers, it’s clear that grandparents are taking an active role in helping their children get back on their feet.  As divorce rates rise and more single parents attempt to go it alone, it may be necessary to fall back on loved ones to ensure that children are raised in a healthy atmosphere.