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Jennifer L. Baker, Psy.D. Anne B. Summers, Ph.D. Debbi Steinmann, M.A. Training Instructor / MentorsMelissa A. Gibson, M.S. Kim Rozell, M.A.Graduate AssistantsBrent Anderson, M.S.Matthew Biller, M.A. Cate Brandon, M.A.Tabitha Carlson, M.S.Dawn Clinard, M.A.Jessie Clinton, M.S. Anup JonathanTony Larson, B.A.Nicole Mannis, M.A.Robert Mindrup, M.S.S.W.Colleen Quinn, Ph.D. Amber Schafner, M.A. Amanda Schroeder, B.S.

The Training for the Healthy Marriage and Family Formation curriculum was created through the cooperative efforts of:

who are the grandparents raising grandchildren
Who are the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren?
  • Biological grandparents
  • Step-grandparent family
  • Single biological grandparent
  • Unrelated persons
grandparents raising grandchildren national statistics
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren National Statistics
  • 4.5 million children are living in grandparent-headed households.
  • 1.5 million children in the U.S. are living in homes headed by other relatives.
grandparents raising grandchildren in missouri
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in Missouri
  • 77, 857 children are living in grandparent-headed households (5.5% of all the children in the state).
  • 18,555 children are living in households headed by other relatives (1.3% of all the children in the state).
local statistics
Local Statistics

To access statistics, log on to:

Additional data on grandparents and grandchildren is available at:

factors unique to custodial grandparents
Factors Unique to Custodial Grandparents
  • Grandparents have a parental role with both their own children and with the grandchildren.
  • A biological parent may or may not be in the home.
  • The grandparents become parents because of the emotional and/or physical loss of one or both biological parents.
  • The grandparent/grandchild relationship may or may not consist of a legal relationship.
reasons parents cannot provide care

Substance abuse

Teenage parenthood

Family violence

Child abuse and neglect

Parental military service


Mental health issues

Financial difficulties

Physical health issues

Crime & incarceration

Terminal illness or death

Rapid rise of single parent households

Parental abandonment

Reasons Parents Cannot Provide Care:
a grandparent s adjustment
A Grandparent’s Adjustment

Possible reactions include:

  • Anger & resentment
  • Disappointment
  • Sadness for the grandchildren
  • Feeling isolated from friends
  • Depression
  • Change in expectations
  • Usually an unplanned parenthood
  • Change in social roles/social groups
  • Lack of social support
  • Financial issues
  • Housing concerns
  • Emotional issues & depression
  • Generational differences
  • Uncertainty about how to help their children & grandchildren
  • Resentment from other children & grandchildren
  • Physical and emotional exhaustion
  • Increased health problems
  • Legal relationship with grandchildren
  • Dual relationships with their children and grandchildren
  • Interference with marital relationship
issues for healthy marriage as grandparents raise grandchildren
Issues for Healthy Marriage as Grandparents Raise Grandchildren
  • Spouses do not always agree on how to handle their situation.
  • Conflict between grandparents, their adult children, and the grandchildren can be especially difficult.
  • Guilt and blame associated with the question, “Why were we not able to raise our child(ren) successfully?”
  • One of the grandparents may be a step-grandparent and have little investment in raising step-grandchildren.
unexpected strains on marriage
How to raise children


Marital conflicts regarding setting limits

Barriers to privacy and sexual intimacy

Financial, physical and emotional strains

Readjusting priorities

Decreased time for oneself and spouse

Disruption in relationships with other children, extended family members, and friends

Unexpected Strains on Marriage
strengths grandparents bring to their grandchildren
Strengths Grandparents Bring to Their Grandchildren
  • Accumulated wisdom from living experiences
  • Maturity
  • Family history and roots
  • An attachment figure for the grandchildren
  • Positive identity and family continuity
  • Communication of unconditional love
  • A sense of security
potential rewards for grandparents
Potential Rewards for Grandparents
  • An unexpected source of purpose and meaning.
  • Seeing the grandchild(ren) grow and develop.
  • Participating in the grandchild(ren)’s activities.
  • Being the recipient of the grandchild(ren)’s love.
  • Increased influence over the fate of grandchildren.
  • Having a second chance to be a parent.
  • Being involved in community activities related to children.
potential rewards for grandparents1
Potential Rewards for Grandparents
  • Observing and sharing in the different perspectives that children bring to relationships.
  • Sharing in the laughter and humor of their grandchildren.
  • Rejoicing in the optimism of children.
potential rewards for grandparents2
Potential Rewards for Grandparents
  • An opportunity to experience self-renewal through grandchildren.
  • Seeing grandchildren develop self-confidence, self-identity, self-respect, and self-esteem.
  • Adding new social networks to their lives.
what may help grandparents raising grandchildren
What May Help Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
  • Educational Support Services
  • Emotional Support Services
  • Support from School Districts or Head Start
  • Financial Support Services
what may help grandparents raising grandchildren1
What May Help Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
  • Legal Advocacy Service
  • Housing Support Service
  • Public Awareness Campaign
  • Routine monitoring of their physical and psychological well-being by professionals
maintaining a healthy marriage while raising grandchildren
Maintaining a Healthy Marriage While Raising Grandchildren
  • Keep communication channels open by talking to each other often.
  • Create special and protected time together.
  • Create time-outs for each other.
  • Present a united front to your grandchildren and adult children.
  • Keep issues in perspective by maintaining a sense of humor.
coping skills for grandparents
Coping Skills for Grandparents
  • Listen to your other grown children.
  • Don’t forget about your other grandchildren.
  • Consider instituting family meetings.
  • Consider counseling.
  • Find emotional support.
  • Make your own decisions.
  • Foundation for Grandparenting:

  • Grandparents and More:

  • Grandparents Resource Center:

  • Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Grief:


American Association for Retired Persons: http// also publishes GIC Voice Newsletter, a free quarterly newsletter for grandparents who are raising grandchildren. To subscribe go to: