The Sudden Mommy
It's Another Average Tuesday Morning
Getting ready for work, while another recitation of the "Gruffalo" by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler, plays in the background. The kids, bright-eyed, as always, are wide awake as soon as they are up. Grandma Joe, however, is ready for coffee. This wasn't the plan, but here they are. She is a sudden mommy, and there are millions like her across the globe.
There is an increase in children being raised by non-biological parents. Stepparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, all playing that parental role in a child's life, formally or informally.According to PBS news "Nationwide, 2.7 million grandparents are raising grandchildren."That is a large number, not even discussing steps, and other relations raising kids.
A Good Thing
The increase comes as states are placing more foster children with relatives in response to research showing that children fare better with family rather than in foster care.
Let's face it; relations are better than getting passed around the foster care system.Placing the child with people who love them and are already committed to their wellbeing. To a child's grandparent, they are not just a number passing through the system.
The Nuclear Family
Children raised by relations can have an upbringing that differs from the nuclear family for better or worse. Only 150,000 kids are being raised by their grandfather as the sole parental influence in their life at this moment.
It is such a blessing to have relations willing to take children.A child can get a much-needed father figure from an uncle, a mother figure from an aunt.I believe strong family bonds with extended relations will make children more rounded adults.
The number of children living with relations seems to have little to do with poverty. The cause of separation from parents ranges between abuse or addiction.
Already, child welfare agencies are reporting an increase in the number of children, especially infants, taken from parents battling drug addictions and mental health issues. After years of declines, children in foster care rose by nearly 1 percent in 2013 and by 3.5 percent in 2014 to more than 415,000.
There is a common cliché, about grandparents living on a pension raising children. These things are cliché for a reason. Many of the kids raised by their relations will not grow up as millionaires, but should they? Is that better?
Who Will Raise Them?
But the question that comes to mind given the reasons for so many children getting passed to family members. What happens when those children, raised by grandparents need to hand their child to a relation.If their parents through abuse, neglect, or for other reasons couldn't raise them, then who will? Is the expectation that in the future grandparent will still take the role of guardian?It's possible and very likely that the non-nuclear families of today, doing their best to raise kids, they didn't give birth to, will raise their kids, --that is their relations— to become good parents. Maybe in the future, there will be less need.
The sudden mommies (and daddies) of the world are not alone. There are many out there in all situations and all walks of life. It's a truth of modern society and likely in the future to shape the world.