Recycled Motherhood: The Lived Experiences of Grandmothers Parenting Their Grandchildren

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Herder, Jacqueline
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Grandmothers, as primary caregivers for their grandchildren, are increasing in direct response to problems encountered by their adult children. It is the societal problems of drug/alcohol addictions, incarceration, neglect or abuse of children that are directly impacting the stability and safety of children and enlisting aging women as second time parents. For some grandmothers it begins with no preparation time. There is a crisis situation and then the choice becomes – do I become a second time parent and raise my grandchildren or will my grandchildren be raised in foster care? This study is about the lives of seven aging women living in different parts of Nova Scotia. Each grandmother took the challenge of becoming primary caregiver for their grandchild/grandchildren. Their narratives are different but all provide great insight into their purposeful role that does not have any other contextual name then grandmother. What evolves through their own discussion is how they developed their own self-efficacy in raising children at risk; yet at the same time they outline the gaps and lack of resources that are required to assist them. It is the hope that this study will encourage more research on this population of grandmothers in this “off-time” role as second time parents. More research will enable policies to be made to assist in developing the resources required for these women and their grandchildren.
Grandparenting , Grandmothers , Grandchildren , Nova Scotia