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Extension > Family > Parents Forever™ > For families > Resources for families > Taking care of your children > Grandparents and Kin Raising Children

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Taking care of your children

grandfather on computer with grandson

Grandparents and Kin Raising Children

Laurie Hanson, Browne Lewis, and Connie Booth — Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association; and Ellie M. McCann, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency

Revised May 2016.

In the United States, over 2.7 million grandparents are responsible for the day-to-day care of approximately 7 million grandchildren, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. Grandparents and kin who are raising their grandchildren can face many problems not encountered by younger parents.

Parenting as a Grandparent

For some grandparents, caring for their grandchildren means loss of dreams of relaxation and freedom from work. Others may feel isolated from friends who no longer have children at home. They may feel guilt or resentment toward their children. In addition, grandparents raising grandchildren frequently face significant financial burdens — 22 percent of this population live in poverty.

Challenges for Children

The children also have to deal with problems. They often have physical or mental problems as a result of parental drug and alcohol abuse. Many have emotional problems as a result of their separation from their parents. Some children’s parents drift in and out of their lives, causing confusion and disruption. Some children are embarrassed when their peers tease them because they are being cared for by older adults. A large number are also behind academically because they’ve missed school. These children may have a hard time concentrating because they constantly worry about their parents. They also worry that they will be abandoned again, this time by their grandparents or kin.

Tips and Tools for Coping

We can’t eliminate the reality that many grandparents raise their grandchildren, but we can find possible solutions to many of the problems they may encounter. These sites provide information for grandparents and kin who are raising grandchildren.

Raising grandchildren is an extraordinary task. You are not alone, and help is available.


Booth, C. (2002). First steps: Getting started raising relatives’ children. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association.

Ellis, R. R., & Simmons, T. (2014). Coresident grandparents and their grandchildren: 2012 (Report No. P20-576).Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.

Related resources

Dealing with stress — Stress can affect every part of your life. These resources are here to help

Relative and Third Party Custody and Parenting — Website provides links to resources that will help relatives and other, non-biological parents navigate issues related to custody and parenting time.

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