Due to a number of factors, the job of raising children is increasingly being passed onto grandparents. Reasons like long working hours, distant commutes across multiple locations, becoming a parent at a young age, incarceration, and death of a parent are making it difficult for parents to devote enough time to their children. Then there are those children whose parents suffer from substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental illnesses and are undergoing recovery. All these reasons contribute to grandparents actively taking up the responsibility of looking after their grandchildren.
This is what is going on in hundreds of households in the US. The grandparents have no problem raising their grandchildren. However, this has led to the emergence of a new problem – mental health disorders. It has been noted that while a grandparent makes the transition from the grandparent to becoming a parent again, they face challenging situations which may make them susceptible to developing mental health problems.
Taking care of grandchildren can cause depression. Oftentimes, grandparents report getting stressed out because of the financial stress and inaccessibility to support services. A majority of these grandparents are nearing retirement or are already retired and are thus, living on limited incomes. In such a scenario, when a grandchild enters the household, the cost of living escalates, especially if the grandchild has special needs.
Grandparents taking care of grandchildren have to choose between their families and jobs. Sometimes, the retired ones have to return to work to make ends meet. On the other hand, some of them working outside the home have to quit their jobs because the cost of child care is too high. Such shifts can cause stress leading to depression.
A positive development in such a scenario is the establishment and availability of free programs exclusively for grandparents dealing with mental health disorders. A mental health worker from one such program center said that it becomes disturbing and demanding for a grandparent to raise a child and go through the process of parenthood again. He shared a story of a woman in her late 50s who was raising her grandson single-handedly. While anger fits in children are common, it reminded her of her abusive husband and the trauma she had to suffer when she was in the relationship. However, timely counseling and guidance helped her overcome the trauma and also helped her deal with the anger fits in her grandson.
The golden years of life sometimes become quite lonely. Experts urge grandparents to use this as an opportunity to connect with their grandchildren and children. Nothing sounds more melodious than the laughter of children. They also advise older people to seek help for any mental health problem they are facing, adding that there is nothing to be embarrassed about.
If you or your loved one is experiencing any symptoms of an underlying mental disorder, you can seek help from a professional facility and speak to an expert who can guide you with information on a wide range of mental health treatment centers offering evidence-based treatment programs customized to suit the patient’s requirements. You can also have a chat online with a representative to seek advice on the best residential mental health treatment options.