Parenting is a child-caring process that involves promotion and provision of support in terms of intellectual, emotional, physical and social developments, right from infancy through to adulthood. In the human race, it is mostly carried out by the biological parents, although other parties such as grandparents and agencies can play the role. However, intriguing is the fact that the number of children in house holds headed by grandparents has been drastically increasing (Lamanna & Reidman, 2012). Considering how pivotal parenting is to the society, a study was carried out to answer the question of why grandparents have to assume the primary role of parenting.
In order to effective realize the objective underlying this research, the study entailed employment of questionnaires as vital tools of data collection. The sample population was drawn from Georgia State, in particular, around Atlanta Metropolitan areas. The questionnaire consisted interview guides for children, parents, grandparents, and agency officers who were chosen as per the ratio indicated (see appendix 1). The study utilized systematic sampling to choose representatives from each of these strata. The questionnaires were distributed among 100 children, 80 parents, 80 grandparents, 10 officers from agencies, and, finally, 10 participants from the child help/welfare institutions.
The study established that the grandparenthood is met with substantial approval. Children, parents, grandparents and agency officials expressed 60, 65, 75 and 50, the respective approval percentages. Otherwise, the percentages of children, parents, grandparents and agencies were 40, 35, 25 and 50, respectively (see appendix 2, table 1). This finding points certain fact; the increase in numbers of grandparent is facilitated by the fact that societies are increasingly welcoming it. According to Whitney (2007), the increase in the incidents of grandparenthood is mainly attributable to societal perceptions that encourage grandparenthood. On the other hand, fifty-fifty division in the responses of agency officials points out that, even though grandparenthood is highly welcomed in the society, it may not be without inherent demerits and merits. These should not be overlooked when dealing with this subject matter. Indeed, according to Sandra (2004), grandparents are compelled to assume children caring responsibilities for various reasons. These include parental divorce, substance abuse, metal health problems, incarceration, teenage pregnancy, military deployment and child abuse or neglect. In this regard, most of the grandparenthood cases only occur following family crisis associated with parent inability, incapability, absence or unwillingness to undertake the parenting responsibilities.
On the other hand, the forces of opposition emanate from the substantial feelings of apprehension that grandparenthood may not give satisfactory care (Fuller & Minkler, 2003). According to Ackerson (2003), grandparents are limited by the limited amounts of incomes so that they can not adequately raise child care, healthcare, insurance, among other essential needs entitled to children. Grandparents have relatively small homes and compounds that do not give ample allowance for children play (Ackerson, 2003). In this regard, it may be expectable that agency officials are more informed about the disadvantages than the rest of the groups; hence, the significant differences in the responses between these groups.
The subject pertaining to the knowledge of the existence of relevant legal or support bodies expressed low percentages for positive responses. Only 40 and 35 percents of children and grandparents were possessed information concerning relevant legal and support bodies. This finding exhibits negative correlation between grandparenthood approval levels and knowledge about the existence of relevant legal/support bodies. This phenomenon helps draw the inference that increasing parenthood is attributable to limited information pertaining to legal and relevant support agencies among children and grand parents. The grandparenthood popularity would be low if the societies were sensitized on the information pertaining to relevant legal or support bodies.
In conclusion, grandparenthood is increasingly becoming popular since it is welcome by societies. In one way, the popularity of parenthood is attributable to limited information about relevant legal and agencies. Moreover, grandparents are compelled to assume child caring responsibilities in the events of family crisis associated with parents’ inability, incapability, absence or unwillingness to undertake the parenting responsibilities, a point that paradigms on grandparenthood should not overlook.