Do you know children who are being raised by their grandparents – or were you even one yourself?
According to Time, roughly 2.7 million U.S. grandparents are raising their grandchildren, a number that has risen in the last 20 years. What’s driving the increase in custodial grandparents? “Addiction and incarceration rates, child abuse and neglect, and economic factors” are the main culprits.
Hats everywhere should be off to these grandparents who have tackled the parenting challenge for another round, particularly since age and increased infirmities make the task so much more difficult.
But what about the current generation of parents? Have cultural influences made it more difficult for today’s parents to properly raise their children?
Beyond the problems of addiction and incarceration, consider for a moment the increased economic pressure to have both parents in the workplace. Does such a scenario make it difficult to spend enough time nurturing and shaping the character of the children in one’s care?
Or consider the increased emphasis on schooling. Does the encouragement to hand children over to the “professionals” at increasingly younger ages (all-day kindergarten, universal preschool, etc.) send a message to parents that they are incapable of passing knowledge along to their children?
Furthermore, it seems like the next generation of society is continually given the message to put themselves first in life. Does the encouragement of such an attitude discourage parenting - a calling which requires a lot of self-sacrifice and energy?
In the long run, does our society need to do better at encouraging a healthy view toward the importance of parenting?
“It is the duty of parents to maintain their children decently, and according to their circumstances; to protect them according to the dictates of prudence; and to educate them according to the suggestions of a judicious and zealous regard for their usefulness, their respectability, and their happiness.” – American Founder James Wilson, 1790-91
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.