According to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2000, 5.8 million people were living with grandchildren younger than 18 years old. Among these grandparents, 2.4 million were also grandparent caregivers who had primary responsibility for their grandchildren. These numbers are astounding, and I am one of those grandparents.

So, why are there so many grandparents raising grandchildren today? Unfortunately, social problems, economics and parents fighting wars in foreign countries have a lot to do with the growing number of baby boomers and the like, raising their children’s children. The growing number of alcohol and drug-related problems can attribute to many other factors including incarceration, abuse and neglect, mental illness, catastrophic illness and death. The failing economy that has been in the news spotlight for quite some time now, may lead to loss of employment and homelessness.

Grandchildren who are left in the care of their grandparents, may exhibit many social problems themselves, causing great stress on the grandparents who are taking care of them. These problems include anger, hostility, depression, fear and resentment, which may lead to involvement with drugs and alcohol, teen pregnancy and gang association.

Grandparents who are doing their best to help their grandchildren may also suffer the effects of the stress which may be compounded by financial difficulties and health problems. The challenges of raising grandchildren are often great; however, there are a number of ways to reduce the effects that I put into my GRANDCOACH method of overcoming the challenges of raising grandchildren.

G – Getting assistance through local, state and government agencies and organizations may help grandparents with food, financial and health care issues, legal assistance and finding support groups. There are resources available on the internet, as well as in community directories and local libraries, hospitals and churches.

R - Relaxation and stress management techniques can help grandparents gain focus and clarity on the issues and concerns in the household. These strategies can be completely in short increments of time, and can help rejuvenate grandparents throughout the day.

A – Asking questions can help build stronger relationships and reduce the risk of grandchildren getting into trouble. Questions that are engaging and lead to deep conversations help grandchildren feel heard, respected and valued. This strategy also helps grandparents build stronger relationships and understanding with their grandchildren.

N – Nutrition and wellness is important for all family members in dealing with stress. Nutrition and wellness keeps family members healthy in mind, body and soul, and reduces costs associated with health care.

D – Discipline strategies that incorporate love, positive reinforcement and consequences help build stronger and healthier relationships, and reduce conflicts and misbehavior. Discipline strategies should be consistent and provided in a caring and nurturing environment.

C – Communicating, coaching, counseling and conflict resolution are options when issues of stress and emotions are creating conflict and mental health concerns, for both grandparents and grandchildren. The level of concern in these areas can help grandparents identify the method they believe would be most effective.

O – Organization of time and space are necessary with additional family members in the home. Using schedules for appointments, school, chores and meetings can assist families in balancing family responsibilities and activities. Space issues can be addressed by evaluating necessities and personal belongings.

A – Activities are a great way for grandchildren to reduce the stress they are feeling and help build communication, leadership and socialization skills. Activities assist in the development of healthy minds and bodies.

C – Children’s temperament is an area all parents and grandparents should be aware of in order to build effective levels of communication and understanding among family members. Frequently, conflicts arise from a lack of understand of diverse personalities leading to communication breakdowns in the home.

H – Hierarchy of needs, developed by Abraham Maslow, can help explain some of the reactions grandchildren may be experiencing with their new living arrangements. Understanding what areas are missing from a grandchild’s life can help identify strategies to replenish that lack.

And now I’d like to invite you to get my free “Special Report: Grandparents Raising Grandchildren – 10 Tips You Need to Know.” To get yours, go to

Author's Bio: 

Kay Fontana is a lifelong learner, natural explorer, and navigator of Life. After watching family and friends struggle with chronic health issues, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, heart disease, asthma, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, and cancer, seeing the effects of the standard American diet (SAD), experiencing a series of devastating losses, and working through her own health issues with diabetes and asthma, Kay became very clear about her life's purpose. Kay’s focus is on the whole being and connecting heart, mind, body, and soul for an abundant life. On her journey, she has learned from leading experts in the field of health, nutrition, healing, and spirituality in order to help clients achieve optimal wellness.

As a certified holistic life and wellness coach, a licensed spiritual practitioner, and a Grief Recovery Specialist®, Kay’s purpose is to help individuals with chronic or life-limiting illness by providing heart-centered coaching, spiritual guidance and support, tools, and resources, such as alternative medicine, that connect heart, mind, body, and soul for an abundant life. Kay’s mission is to inspire individuals with chronic or life-limiting illness and their family caregivers to let go of limiting beliefs and habits that block energy, and replace them with mindful self-compassion practices that lead to optimal wellness and a better life. For more information, go to