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What are some of the challenges a custodial grandparent faces?

Many grandparents in Northern Kentucky and elsewhere end up raising their grandchildren. For a wide variety of reasons, you might find yourself the unexpected caregiver of your children’s children. You are likely to face numerous challenges as a result – financially, emotionally, physically and legally. It may help to be informed and prepared for what you might be dealing with if you are the guardian of your grandchildren.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, more than 2 million grandparents in the United States are currently raising their grandchildren. Common reasons range from teenage pregnancy to drug use, the parents getting a divorce or at least one of them passing away. If you find yourself with custody of your grandchildren, you might experience any number of the following challenges:

  • Age-related physical or cognitive conditions that could make it difficult to care for children
  • Legal difficulties obtaining medical care, enrolling children in school or getting financial assistance
  • Custody battles from other family members
  • Feeling isolated and overwhelmed

Additionally, your grandchildren are likely to be going through some challenges of their own. They may feel abandoned by their parents and upset over their situation, and could have emotional or behavioral problems as a result. They might perform poorly in school and have social or aggression issues. It is not uncommon for children to take out their frustration or depression on the ones taking care of them.

During this time, you might find help by attending a support group, setting up family counseling, spending time with your own friends or getting involved in a relaxing hobby. This may be a difficult time of life for you and your grandchildren, but it can also be positive and rewarding. This information, however, should not replace a lawyer’s advice.

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