Home Relationships & Family Parenting Grandparents raising Grandchildren

How can a Grandparent Raise Grandchildren?


When you were making your decision to raise your grandchild or grandchildren, you probably didn’t think too much about the legal implications. But if your grandchildren live with you for any length of time, it’s important that you understand the laws that affect grandparents raising grandchildren.

For example, are you authorized to register your grandchild at school? Can you make medical decisions for them? Get them health insurance? Who is legally obligated to pay for clothes and other necessities for the children—and are there programs available to help?

Just because you’ve taken in your grandchild doesn’t mean you have legal rights to make decisions for that child. Unless you’ve taken steps to secure a legal care giving relationship with your grandchildren, you may have trouble enrolling the children in school, authorizing medical treatment, and getting financial assistance and health insurance. It’s important to discuss the legal issues with your grandchildren’s parents, if at all possible, and try to agree on how to move forward.

How do caregivers get medical consent?

The parent or legal caregiver giving the authorization may complete a medical consent form, available from many local organizations, or simply write a statement. The onus is now on grandparents to provide this consent. So need to be careful about the legal implications of the same.

For many men and women who were not especially kind or involved parents, grand parenting is about one thing: redemption. Being a grandparent is the ultimate do-over.

The challenges of Grandparenting of Grandchildren

When grandmothers and grandfathers try and grab that second chance, it's rarely simple, and often stirs confusion about where, exactly, this new person came from. When the dad who was never around is suddenly a constant presence in the lives of his grandchildren, or the disciplinarian mother morphs into a warm, jolly grandmother, how do their own children handle the change?

In many ways, grand parenting and parenting are fundamentally different experiences -- with the latter tending to be far more draining and demanding. Most grandparents no longer bear the same financial pressures they did as parents (although a growing number of grandparents in the United States serve as the primary guardian for their grandchildren), nor are they responsible for overseeing a dependent’s safety and well-being day-to-day.

Grandmothers caring for or raising grandchildren suffer more stress and depression than grandmothers who aren't caregivers. These are older women who may have health needs of their own. So caring for a grandchild who may have health problems, developmental challenges, or an increased need for care creates more stress for these grandmothers.

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

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