University of Illinois Extension

What Grandparents Say About Raising Their Grandchildren

Cammy Seguin, Family Life Educator

As the sole caregiver of your grandkids, you may be facing many burdens. But, we need to remember the many positives as well. As one grandmother noted, "Nothing can feel better than the hugs I get."

When grandparents were asked about the things they loved about parenting their grandkids, the responses seemed to fall into two categories. First, grandparents felt they were contributing to the well-being of their grandchildren. And at the same time, the kids were helping them in positive ways.

When you are raising your grandchildren, you know that they are safe and happy in an environment free from conflict or abuse. The children are getting the things they so desperately need, such as unconditional love and a sense of family.

As a grandparent, you have the chance to give the children what they may not be getting from anyone else. You can make a difference in their lives. And, you can pass on the family traditions and share family stories.

Most grandparents report that their own lives are enriched by raising their grandchildren. Some find it emotionally uplifting to have a child in the house again. Having kids around can increase interest in daily life and reduce feelings of depression. As one grandmother stated, "I am less apt to sit and watch TV as much. I don't have time for that now."

Many grandparents say that they feel needed and useful, and the children have given new meaning to their lives. They often feel a sense of pride watching the children progress.

There will be days when you have to focus on the positives or else the negatives will overwhelm you. Begin by taking one step at a time, and then do more as needed. Very often, the burdens you feel now will change into positive opportunities later on.