Grandparents raising their grandchildren leave traces in their souls

   A study entitled The Generation of Transition; between Work and Retirement, states that thousands of years ago, the family model «included not only a father and a mother who took care of good parenting; there was also a grandmother who helped them in this task.»

   Grandparents work as health, guardians and teachers of their grandchildren. They allow many moms to be integrated into the labor market. Some families are going better, thanks to grandparents. And in times of economic instability, these gestures are more important.

   One of the most worrying census data, in America, is the growing number of children who have to be supported by their grandparents 2.4 million grandparents are responsible for the training of 4.4 million grandchildren. The Economist reported that a third of these grandparents, householders, had not completed high school and 62% had not gone to university. 70% exceeded 50 years of age, while 70% of children had about 11 years.

   The African American community is the hardest hit. For people under 18 in the United States, 70.9% of those who are children of the household head are white and 13.3% black. However, in the case of the grandchildren of the household head, only 48.6% are white and 32.3% are black.

   The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry explains the causes of this overhead for grandparents: increase in single-parent families, high divorce rate, teenage pregnancy, parental incapacitation by imprisonment, alcoholism, drug use and domestic violence.

   Grandparents face a greater mental and physical wear, especially because they deal with difficult children from broken or troubled homes. Stress and fatigue related to work that originates responsibility are the main symptoms of the «slave grandmother» syndrome.

   There are programs to help grandparents who have to educate their grandchildren. The most requested service is an allowance so they can hire a temporary assistant during the holidays. Apart from these grants, we should erect a monument to grandparents.

   Clemente Ferrer

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