This family form apparently reflects a very real trend. A recent article in the Colorado University Extension newsletter mentions that from 1990 to 2000, the number of custodial grandparents in Colorado increased by 73%! And, in the U.S., more than 4.5 million children under age 18 live with their grandparents.

I know of one such family right in our neighborhood. They thought their divorced daughter’s new boyfriend was a little dangerous, so they took twin girls into safety.

I imagine the challenges that grandparents raising kids must face. First of all, dare I say it? They are still a form of stepparent, and we already know that stepparenting when the parents are not  available has its own circle of issues.

Second of all, they are not naturally “in” with the social network of school or club parents. This is not to say they can’t quickly become part of these groups, but I think it depends on the mix of styles and personalities.

Third, what about energy levels? I am in my mid-forties and I already don’t have the energy I did ten years ago. Bless these grandparents who step in to raise children!

Fourth, many retired people are on reduced incomes.  Adding to your family size increases expenses.

Special concerns usually benefit from special support. Colorado State Extension offers a new support resource for grandparents: The Grandparents Raising Grandchildren website. The website includes local, state, and national resources on financial assistance, health, legal issues, education, and parenting. It also offers a forum for grandparents raising grandkids to tell their stories.

If you know any grandparents raising grandchildren, please pass along these resources today!

Mama J is a writer, parent, and stepparent (but not yet a grandparent) in Northern Colorado.  Find information on her book, Stepparenting the Grieving Child, at

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