chapter  10
20 Pages

Noncaregiving Grand par ent Peers’ Per cep tions of Cus to dial Grand par ents: Extent of Life Dis rup tion, Needs for Social Sup port, and Needs for Social and Men tal Health Ser vices

The role of grandparent for many has shifted from a traditional, noncaregiving role to a nontraditional caregiver/parental role, with grandmothers typically assuming a custodial role twice as often as grandfathers (Fuller-Thomson and Minkler, 2000). Factors contributing to custodial grandparenting include the death or incarceration of the grandchild’s parent as well as the termination or interruption of the parent-child relationship as a result of various forms of abuse, separation or abandonment, substance abuse, job loss, and divorce (Hayslip and Kaminski, 2005; Park and Greenberg, 2007). Qualitative research has found that custodial grandparents report challenges such as the generation gap between themselves and their grandchild, health concerns, discipline difficulties, and strain in their marital relationships (Robinson and Wilks, 2006). Despite the challenges many grandparents face in raising their grandchildren, such persons more often than not take on this responsibility with the grand - children’s best interests in mind and dedicated to the children’s utmost well-being, even above their own, ignoring their own health needs in the process (Baker and Silverstein, 2008). Yet despite its challenges, custodial grandparenting can bring such benefits as feeling closer to the grandchildren and a new sense of meaning to the grandparent’s life (Hayslip and Page, 2012).