2.7 million of the 80 million grandparents that are raising their grandchildren are responsible for most of the basic needs of the children living with them. Over 50% of these 80 Million grandparents talk with their grandchildren about problems they are having as well as instilling morals and values, and religion or spirituality within these children. However, while they instill these values, Grandparents are often forced to handle the false promises that parents make to their children saying they will stay engaged with their children. The two most alarming statistics however are that over 40% of children being cared for by their grandparents are because one of the parent’s has a substance abuse problem. Then another 28% of the children were victims of abuse, abandonment, or neglect from their parents/step-parents.
What impact does this have on our future generation? Well children who are raised by grandparents often display “developmental, physical, behavioral, academic, and emotional problems. Some of these problems include depression, anxiety, ADHD, health problems, learning disabilities, poor school performance, and aggression.” Not only this but the family relationship structure changes. “Relationships among family members can also create stress for grandchildren. Due to their age difference, grandchildren may also feel disconnected from their grandparent caregivers. Finally, household rules and expectations can be a source of tension and conflict.” The key to remember is that children often act out in a safe place. Therefore when children act out inappropriately or exhibit disturbing behaviors associated with depression, anxiety or rage, having them express it in your home can be a sign at least the grandchildren are feeling safe enough to exhibit their emotions at your home because they lack that security elsewhere.
While grandparents may be older, establishing routines and rules, offering time and attention and most importantly giving them a private space can assist in making and dealing with this growing epidemic possible. Change can be difficult for children and adults. Providing the expectations and rules allows for children to understand where the boundaries are to their new living situation. With the growing opioid epidemic we will be seeing more and more children being raised by grandparents. There is some hope though to this, while my generation may be failing financially and having addiction problems, they were raised with more morals and work ethic than the children I see today. So it maybe just coming down to having our parents raising our children to ensure that future generations can at least have a chance to be successful. By connecting with a generation past, grandparents are able to still have conversations with our children unlike many parents today who will ignore their children for the cell phone screen instead. At last there might be hope.
 “23 Statistics on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.” BrandonGaille.com, 24 May 2017, brandongaille.com/21-statistics-on-grandparents-raising-grandchildren/.
 Advanced Solutions International, Inc. Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, www.aamft.org/iMIS15/AAMFT/Content/consumer_updates/Grandparents_Raising_Grandchildren.aspx.
 “Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.” The Rewards and Challenges of Parenting the Second Time Around, www.helpguide.org/articles/parenting-family/grandparents-raising-grandchildren.htm.