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?
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