Questioning a well-being of children raised by grandparents

In this post I would like to share with you my thoughts concerning children raised by grandparents. In other words, why some children are raised by grandparents, and how it influences those children.

It is true that in some families children may spend more time with their grandparents than they do with their parents. Some parents are forced by different circumstances to send their child to their grandparents for a long period of time. These circumstances may include financial pressure, career aspirations, housing issues, lack of availability of kindergartens or others. As a result, parents might need to make a heart-breaking decision to separate themselves from their kid for some time. Such decision may have both positive and negative outcomes. From the one hand, it might be beneficial to be raised by grandparents as they can provide “a loving, familial home environment” and close ties to family for their grandchildren (Edwards & Daire, 2006, n.p.). Grandparents may also teach grandchildren wisdom, patience, hard work, care, and many things about life that they have seen and learnt. On the other hand, it might be stressful both for parents and children to be separated from each other, and might even affect a psychological well-being of a child. For instance, depending on the age of the child, he/she may not recognize their parents, be hurt to be away, and even feel some offense towards their parents. It might be easier to overcome this period if the distance is not so long, and parents often visit their child. Unfortunately, sometimes parents are not able to visit their child as many times as they want to due to long distance or other obstacles. And they may not see each other for a year or more.

Moreover, there are cases when grandparents own or adopt their grandchildren. Such tradition exists in a number of Kazakh families. Grandparents would usually adopt their oldest grandchild. Such adopted grandchildren may or may not be aware that the people whom they call uncle/aunt are in fact their biological parents. Such decision is usually made by grandparents. Some grandparents choose not to tell the truth. It might be easier for the child who knows about his/her biological parents to accept them and be close to his/her siblings, whereas the ones who are not aware usually find it hard to accept their parents and siblings and be close to them when they reveal the truth. For these children their parents and siblings are no closer than any other relative in their family. As a result, both the child and parents may suffer.

Having read a few articles related to the US context on child’s psychological functioning raised by grandparents, I’ve found out that, although, many kids raised by grandparents “enjoy favorable functioning, others experience significant school-adjustment difficulties” (Edwards, 2009, p. 128). Moreover, research revealed that these children “often encounter behavioral, emotional, and academic problems at school, and the problems they experience indicate these children require intervention assistance from psychologists, school counselors, and other school professionals” (Edwards & Daire, 2006, n.p.).

This made me think about this issue. I started to wonder if this can be true in our context. I would be really interested if any of you know research-evidenced data on Kazakhstani children raised by grandparents and their school-adjustment process. If you also haven’t come across such study, what’s your personal attitude towards the children being raised by grandparents?

References

Edwards, O. W., & Daire, A. P. (2006). School-age children raised by their grandparents: Problems and solutions. Journal of Instructional Psychology,33(2), 113. Retrieved from: http://ezproxy.library.nu.edu.kz:3586/ehost/detail/detail?sid=1bbb6eb3-544a-4fbb-b481-94470a3c9457%40sessionmgr4002&vid=0&hid=4109&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=f5h&AN=21597694

Edwards, O. W. (2009). Empirical investigation of the psychosocial functioning of children raised by grandparents. Journal of Applied School Psychology,25(2), 128-145. Retrieved from: http://ezproxy.library.nu.edu.kz:2167/doi/abs/10.1080/15377900802484653#.VM0UG2isVNM

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Questioning a well-being of children raised by grandparents

  1. It is a nice topic indeed. I liked the way you have presented your idea which were well-organized and backed up with arguments.
    You have mentioned that some parents are forced to send their children to grandparents due to some circumstances, which is true. But there are some cases when custodial grand parenting is required due to parental abuse, mental or physical illness, teenage pregnancy, divorce and death of parents. In this case the grand parenting is the best solution for caring after the children. However, grandparents can encounter legal difficulties related to obtaining guardianship, or may have limited financial resources. Moreover, grandparents have limited energy which can prevent or make caring difficult.
    As per my vision, nowadays the custodial grand parenting occurs in modified ways in comparison with the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Zhuldyz!
    As I was scrolling down the main page (I haven’t visited the site for several days), the title of your post immediately captured my attention (even though it doesn’t have fancy pictures which is one of my favorite parts). This is a sign of a good topic selection that is thought-provoking and relevant to readers’ interests.
    I think the very important point, which is often overlooked, is the close relationship between parents and children, and later grandparents and their children’s children. These habit of presenting own children as gifts originates form this very close bond. On the other hand, some parents sacrifice their children because of the different financial, personal and conditions mentioned in the article. Some of the extreme cases provided by @assiyadairabay also exist in our context. Therefore, I think generalization here is impossible as every case is unique. To some, adoption ends up with salvation, to others it becomes a family drama.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Zhuldyz!
    The issue you have enlightened, undoubtedly, one of the important in Kazakhstani society. From my perspective, as a person who has never lived apart from the parents, it is hard to judge about feelings and emotions of children living with grandparents away from their parents and siblings. However, I think that if parents physically and mentally healthy and do not experience difficult times, it is senseless to send their children live away, even with close relatives such as grandparents. In Kazakh culture it is a tradition to send the oldest child to live with grandparents, or in some cases being forced to do so. I think that it is a remnant of the past and we shouldn’t honor this kind of traditions. Probably because of the stress experienced by separation, children don’t do well at schools and might suffer even in their adulthood. No matter how loving and caring grandparents can be, no one ever can replace parental care and love. At the same time, it is important to spend some time with older family members, for instance, spend summer/winter holidays together, but having a close relationship with grandparents does not necessarily mean to move away from your own parents.

    Like

  4. Zhuldyz, thank you for raising such an important and up-to-date parenting issue. I think that it concerns almost all parents around the world. I have not come across with the research done on this issue, but I have watched some videos which explain the necessity of maintaining the emotional contact in the parent-child relationship from child’s birth to achieving a full age. These videos represent the interview with the famous family psychologist in Russian – Olga Troickaya. I have been thinking deeply about the parent-child relationship in our society which is similar with Russia in some respect. It might be because of the historical events we have had in the past (World War II, etc.).
    The psychologist discusses the necessity of parents’ support in children’s early childhood, primary school and teenage periods. The key issue is that both parties start to lose the emotional contact if the relationship lacks certain compromises. The psychologist also metioned that grandparents’ intervention at this point might lead to a total uncertain child position in the family. Since the child hesitates to chose the right opinion or position of adults to support. In school years he/she collaborates with fellows and his/her opinion might be more uncertain if it started to appear in early childhood.
    Anyway, I consider that children must be raised by their parents unless the circumstances allow.

    Links:
    https://vk.com/video-55387604_168698955
    http://www.psychologos.ru/articles/view/troickayazpt_olga_iosifovna

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s