Forming A Family: When Grandparents Raise Children


When parents cannot raise their children, sometimes grandparents take that responsibility. Spotlight looks at this kind of family.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2  

And I’m Adam Navis. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

When Debra Bowman was 60 years old, she expected to live a quiet life. Her children were adults. She had a few more years of work. After that, she would be able to rest and enjoy the end of her life. But Bowman’s son died in a car crash. And she suddenly became responsible for raising her grandson. Bowman knew that she did not have a choice. She also knew that her situation was very common. She knew what she needed to do. She told the Kokomo Perspective:

Voice 3  

“There are all kinds of people who are raising their grandchildren. It is because parents are using drugs or are in prison. I saw that everywhere. I started having a passion for grandmothers. Who would be raising these children if not their grandparents?"

Voice 2  

There are many ways to form a family. Today’s Spotlight is on forming a family when grandparents raise their grandchildren.

Voice 1  

Around the world, grandparents are an important part of raising children. They teach skills, tell stories, and give support. In many countries, grandparents have a place of honor in the family. for example, in China, it is very common for parents to leave their children with grandparents during the work day. They know that their children are well cared for. This allows Chinese parents to work hard and save money for the future.

Voice 2  

However, it is becoming more common for grandparents to raise their grandchildren without any parents involved. The Australian Institute of Family studied the changing relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. The study found that:

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“Grandparents have always had an important place in family life. But over the last 20 years, many have had increased responsibility for their grandchildren. The first major change is in providing child care. Grandparents provide child care for young children. Both parents are working. Grandparents also transport children from school, and care for them during school vacations. There is a second change that causes grandparents to need to care for their grandchildren. Some parents are unable to care for their children because of drug or alcohol abuse.”

Voice 1  

More and more grandparents are providing full care of their grandchildren. This is often not easy for children or grandparents. There was a different study done in 2013. It was from North-West University’s Center for Child, Youth, and Family Studies in South Africa. South Africa’s Independent Media wrote about the study. The online newspaper said:

Voice 5  

“Separate from losing their own children, many grandparents found their new life demanding. Parental acts such as helping with schoolwork, attending school meetings and sports were difficult. But the financial load had a big effect. Many grandparents had to continue working long after they wanted to in order to put food on the table and pay for school. Many grandparents struggled to get a balance between modern ways of parenting compared with the way they had done things before.”

Voice 2  

The reason more grandparents are involved depends on the country. In the United States some parents are in prison. This means they are unable to care for their children. In a country like Uganda, many children have parents die from HIV/AIDS. In other countries parents die because of natural disasters like earthquakes, fires, mud slides, or large waves of water. But whatever the reason, raising your own grandchildren takes a lot of work.

Voice 1  

Lillian Meyers lives in the US. She was 50 when her two granddaughters came to live with her. She told the BBC,

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“I have already been through parenting once and thought I was done. It is a different thing to go through it again. It is very stressful - especially when the children have been hurt by the bad thing that happened.”

Voice 2  

However, there are a few things that may help grandparents. First, they can remember that it is okay to have emotions. Grandparents may feel angry or sad, or guilty because of the situation. They may wonder if they are going to have the energy to keep up with young children. They may wonder if they are as good as the child’s parent.

Voice 1  

It is important to talk to other grandparents who have raised grandchildren. Finding people in their community or on the Internet who can support them will make them feel less alone. Grandparents in this situation should remember that other people in their community may want to help. They can create a list of ways people could help. These can include things like cleaning, cooking, or working outside. When a person offers to help, let them choose something off the list.

Voice 2  

Next, Grandparents should learn about any services in their area. This could come from schools, government programs, or religious organizations. Grandparents may not need all these programs. But when they do need them, it will be helpful to know about them.

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Finally, it is important for grandparents to have a rest. Grandparents have lots of love, but not always lots of energy. If possible, they should find ways to rest and take time for themselves.

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And what about the grandchildren? How do they feel about being raised by their grandparents? Each situation is different. It depends on how old the children are when they went to live with their grandparents. It also depends on why they had to move, and if they have people to help and support them. The children may experience pain, worry, or depression because their parents are gone. They may need someone to talk to about their feelings.

Voice 1  

There are many ways to form a family. In many situations, grandparents have a different job than parents. They get to love without worrying about all the responsibilities of a parent. But when grandparents do have to raise their grandchildren, they can still provide a loving family where children can grow and learn. Lillian Meyers says,

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“I think our two girls probably missed out on having a grandmother and grandfather because we were parenting. We had to do the best we could with what we could, and that is about all you can do.”

Voice 2  

Have your grandparents been a part of your life? Tell us about it. You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Adam Navis. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Forming A Family: When Grandparents Raise Children’.

Voice 2  

Look for our listening app in the Google Play Store and in iTunes. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Were your grandparents involved in raising you? How were they involved in your life?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Giant
said on November 07, 2017

Unfortunately they weren’t !
Have a good time

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on January 16, 2019

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer the questions below
Date: Wednesday 16, January 2019
Location: São Paulo city, São Paulo Brazil
Avenida Líder 1150 Bloco 2 ap 42 cidade líder - São Paulo SP 03586-000


Dear Adam Navis, Michio Ozaki, and Liz Waid:

Firstly, I want to thank you for bringing us more one great article, thank you.
Questions:
Question 1 - Have your grandparents been a part of your life? Yes, they have.
Question 2 - Were your grandparents involved in raising you? Yes, they were.
Question 3 - How were they involved in your life? Well, my loved grandparents are not alive any more. But, they took care after me in a very special way. My mother is good for me. However, my grandparents lived in small farm a little far from of my mother’s house. So, I asked to my mother to live in the farm with my grandparents and my nephews, when I was 5 years old. There in the farm there were a lot of goats, goats’ kids, oxen, dogs, cats, rabbits, and differents insects like ants. I love everything like these. For that reasons, I moved to live with my grandparents’ house. So, I had been living with them until 16 years old. After that my grandfather died. So my grandmother together her sons (my nephews)  moved to live in a neighborhood a little far from the farm. Finally, one year after that my grandmother died, too. And then I returned to live with my mother and father.
Your regards,
Severino Ramos
Thank you.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on January 16, 2019

I am so sorry! There is a mistake that I made. Not nephews. Uncles.

Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on January 17, 2019

I grew up without the presence of my grandparents and I knew them very superficially. I remember my grandfather as an old, tall man with big blue eyes and infinite kindness. My grandmother was a hard-working housewife with great energy. They certainly had no influence on my growth.

Avatar Spotlight
Galina
said on January 20, 2019

I want to tell about my parents. They were an incredible grandparents for my children and for children of my sister.
They were the best grandparents in the world. They loved their grandchildren so much. They always wanted to be involved in raising our children. They tried to help us. We all worked, but we didn’t worry about our children. We always knew that everything is all right with them, because they are with their grandparents.
  Dad transported children from school and took them to sport, dance and piano lessons. Mom cooked delicious food for children and told them very intersting stories. They laughed a lot together.
We all loved our Mom and Dad and respected them. They were and remain our heros and favorite people.