The Role of Grandmothers in Todays Families

Grandmothers in today’s families have a very different role from the one they had in the past. Gone are the days when you’d picture a grandmother knitting in her rocking chair and baking cookies, although I’m sure some still do. Today’s grandmothers are younger, holding full-time jobs, raising their grandchildren or juggling a multitude of tasks.  Grandmothers are heroes for many children who come from disadvantaged homes, they are selflessly taking on the responsibility of raising their grandchildren by providing a loving and nurturing home for them to grow in.

Many grandmothers step into the role of mom, or of mom and dad for their grandchild when a crisis occurs. The situation may be a temporary one or it may be permanent depending on the circumstances. Grandchildren will have an easier transition when living with a grandmother rather than being placed into a foster home. There are grandparent programs in every state that offer assistance when you care for your grandchild on a full-time basis. According to AARP, more than 2.5 million grandparents are raising their grandchildren in the United States.

There is a grant program called the Non-Parent Caregiver grant which is provided through your state and local government, which offers up to $400 per month when you care for your grandchild full-time and an additional $125 per month for each additional grandchild. Unfortunately, many people do not receive this benefit because they do not know about it. This grant is based on your grandchild’s income only and since most children do not have an income, you have a good chance of qualifying. Your income is not considered in the application process, according to AARP.

Grandmothers are wiser and knowledgeable because of the life experiences they have had, this makes them great mentors and good role models for their grandchildren. They inspire, encourage, teach and help to keep their grandchildren on the straight and narrow. Grandmothers are able to teach their grandchild about their family heritage, how to keep family customs alive and how to be proud of who they are.

Many grandmothers baby sit for their children while their parent work, which has multiple benefits for all. The parents save money by not having to pay the huge expense of child care and the grandmothers gets to spend precious time with their grandchild. Some grandmothers sacrifice by working full-time and babysitting for their grandchildren. I know of a case where a grandmother is 70 years old and still works full-time at night as a registered nurse in the emergency room of a hospital.  During the day she cares for her grandson when he gets home from school so that her daughter can attend nursing school.

Grandmothers everywhere contribute to the health and well being of their families. Each one has their own unique qualities and characteristics that will have an impact their family’s life for generations to come.