Grandparents as Parents, First Edition: A Survival Guide for Raising a Second Family


More than a million American grandparents today are the sole caregivers for their grandchildren, thrust into unplanned second parenthood by tragedies such as drug abuse, crime, physical abuse, divorce, abandonment, and the untimely death of their own children. At a time when they should be enjoying themselves, they find their lives changed, their finances challenged, and their parenting techniques antiquated and ineffective with this new, and often traumatized, generation they must suddenly raise. Offering ...
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More than a million American grandparents today are the sole caregivers for their grandchildren, thrust into unplanned second parenthood by tragedies such as drug abuse, crime, physical abuse, divorce, abandonment, and the untimely death of their own children. At a time when they should be enjoying themselves, they find their lives changed, their finances challenged, and their parenting techniques antiquated and ineffective with this new, and often traumatized, generation they must suddenly raise. Offering compassion, encouragement, and fact-filled advice, Grandparents as Parents covers everything a grandparent in this situation needs to know in order to cope with the practical, day-to-day needs of raising a child today. Cowritten by the founder of the national support group "Grandparents as Parents" (GAP) and a veteran journalist, and covering the broad range of issues associated with the personal and social aspects of raising grandchildren, the book is also an important resource for all mental health professionals who work with this burgeoning population.

A highly practical handbook, Grandparents as Parents will equip readers with the knowledge they need to immediately take control of their lives.

Divided into three sections, the first part of the book discusses the changes, feelings, and problems of grandparents, adult children, grandchildren, and family in general. These chapters debunk many of the myths associated with the phenomenon of grandparents as parents and the crises that lead to it. The authors offer invaluable advice on how to overcome the feelings of isolation, grief, anger, guilt, fear, and doubt that many grandparents in this situation experience. Relating powerfully moving, highly personal, and often inspirational stories, the volume lets readers know they are not alone, while also pointing out the incomparable rewards to be gained from raising one's grandchildren.

Section II addresses the bureaucracy involved in raising grandchildren. Readers will learn how to get through the alphabet soup of AFDC, IEP, WIC, and CPS, deal with court proceedings, and obtain other services for grandchildren. In Section III, the book turns its focus to the larger community of grandparents as parents, examining the changing definition of family and the political arena in which it is being redefined. This section provides invaluable information on how grandparents can find and/or start peer support groups as well as organize for political change.

Throughout the book are point-by-point lists of how to cope in a variety of family situations. An extremely useful appendix features lists of resources for grandparents and relative caregivers, including who to call to find support groups. For those starting a group, suggested topics of conversation are provided. Readers will also find information about additional parenting resource groups, recommended reading lists, and addresses (some with phone numbers) of legal organizations and associations and political action groups.

Topical, comprehensive, and filled with essential information, this book is a must for all grandparents who are taking on the challenge of raising a new generation of children. Mental health professionals who work with this population--including psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, physicians, teachers, attorneys, and family advocates--will find Grandparents as Parents an invaluable reference as well as an ideal resource for client assignment. It is also a useful supplementary text for courses in social work, psychology, gerontology, and family sociology.

Describes grandparenting & the law/child protection & the dependency system/government aid, etc.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This is a reference book, a character-builder, a challenge and a friend." --Peter Warren, Seniors Today

"This book provides insights and practical guides for all aspects of grandparents parenting their grandchildren. Although lengthy, it is organized for reference reading on topics of special interest. It reflects extensive personal experience and commitment." --Robert Casey, Founder and President, Creative Grandparenting, Inc.

"As an educator, I feel that the authors have done an excellent job researching material for Grandparents as Parents. It was written with much compassion and insight." --Gertrude B. Burrell, PhD, B.O.D. Secretary, Creative Grandparenting, Inc.

"Thank you for the opportunity to read through this manuscript. I was deeply moved. I found the writing to be an extraordinary, heartwrenching account of grandparents raising a second family. It is a profoundly sensitive guide that provides a fine blend of education, understanding and assistance for 'when the second shift arrives.' What I most appreciated is that while somewhat alarming, it shows the real side of grandparenting--including those not-so-pleasant issues that most of these families will face. And it doesn't ignore the fact that the legal system often adds to the confusion and difficulty. Rather, it takes a step-by-step approach to getting through the system with an eye always on what's best for the child. The book answers many of the questions grandparents have asked us in desperation and confusion. It fills an existing void of information and will be welcomed by the millions of grandparents that need its assistance and support." --Giovanna Stark, Executive Director, Child Development Programs Advisory Committee, Sacramento, CA

"Contains an important source of information as it responds to real life experiences of parenting grandparents. The in-depth focus of Grandparents As Parents defines the many roles, adjustments and responsibilities grandparents who are parenting their grandchildren must make as they become parents a second time." --Lenora Madison Poe, Ph.D., Berkeley, CA

"Sylvie de Toledo's pioneering work with grandparents who are raising their grandchildren finally has the national platform it deserves. DeToledo and Edler Brown have produced a practical, readable guide that will prove invaluable to these grandparents who are dealing with their emotionally distressed grandchildren, their often disturbed and/or abusive adult children, and a hopelessly outdated and confusing legal system that so often works against 'the best interests of the child.'" --Annette Winter, Senior Editor, Modern Maturity magazine

"Grandparents As Parents is a wonderful resource not only for grandparents raising grandchildren but for anyone who is connected with or provides services to families in this situation. From personal experience, the authors provide a special insight into the circumstances that grandparents and other relatives face as they take on the charge of protecting and nurturing their kin. Grandparents As Parents addresses the emotional challenges this responsibility involves as well as contributing very practical advice. Through real-life examples, it gives us both the grandparents' and the social workers' perspective regarding family history, the value of group support, negotiating complex systems of services, and the importance of advocacy. The book ends with a call to action. I highly recommend this book to recharge our commitment as we advance our knowledge." --Dana Burdnell Wilson, MSW, Kinship Care Program Director, Child Welfare League of America

"This book is a brilliant 'how-to' manual for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. It guides grandparent caregivers through the maze of physical, emotional, financial and legal problems encountered as they strive to rescue and protect their beloved grandchildren in a world wrought with violence, abuse, drugs, prostitution, gangs and guns. This 'survival handbook' should be standard issue to every grandparent raising (or contemplating raising) their grandchildren." --Nancy A. McCann-Stone, Citizens Advocate, Senior Citizens Advocacy Bureau

"Covers every aspect of the complex issue of grandparenting today. This is a good, solid guidebook for any grandparent who is helping to support, raising, or contemplating raising a grandchild. Written in a professional yet caring style, the book presents a detailed summary of the issues affecting grandparents who raise their grandchildren, as well as a realistic look at the systems in place to help them." --Senator David Pryor (AR), U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging

"Ms. de Toledo and Ms. Brown have written a step-by-step guidebook for one of the most crucial issues of our time. Grandparents As Parents is an excellent user's manual which can empower seniors who increasingly step in to fill the breach when the family infrastructure crumbles. 'Kinship Care' will keep a lot of American families together as our country moves into the next century." --Congressman Ron Wyden (Oregon)

" ...A detailed, sensitive guide...Each chapter includes concrete suggestions, for example, how to recognize symptoms of behavior problems and cope with them, ways to negotiate with teachers, and what to do if the parent still has contact and the grandparents suspect she or he is abusing the child...Grandparents as Parents is a supportive, practical book written by someone who has personal experience with the effects on all concerned...Any grandparents raising a grandchild can read this book and know they are not alone. The material is direct and honest; it normalizes the many negative emotions grandparents may be uncomfortable expressing...This is a useful and timely book that will benefit the grandparents and grandchildren, the helping professionals who work for them, and the rest of the members in this increasingly common family configuration." --Nicole Spaulding, Rehabilitation Education

"This book addresses an important topic on which little literature exists. The authors have filled this vacuum admirably. The result is a highly readable guide to the problems facing older adults who take on the task of raising their grandchildren....The numerous case examples drive home the points being made, as well as make the work accessible to individuals who may not have had the advantage of higher education." --Pearl M. Mosher-Ashley, PhD in Clinical Gerontologist

Intervention in School and Clinic

"...this survival guide for raising a second family should be available in all schools and counseling offices, to be passed from grandparent to grandparent....Critical reading for counselors and school psychologists. "--Intervention in School and Clinic
Seniors Today

"This is a reference book, a character-builder, a challenge and a friend."--Seniors Today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572300200
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/28/1995
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 322
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 1.04 (d)

Meet the Author

Sylvie de Toledo, L.C.S.W., B.C.D., is the founder of the organization Grandparents As Parents and the co-president of the National Coalition of Grandparents. A founder of the California Coalition of Grandparents and Relative Caregivers, she currently serves on the organization's board. She recently received a 1995 Special Achievement Award from the Southern California Psychiatric Society in recognition of her work with and for children and grandparents.

Deborah Edler Brown, a freelance writer, has written articles for numerous publications including Time, Psychiatric Times, The SelfHelper, and the Detroit Free Press.

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Table of Contents

I. When the Second Shift Arrives
1. Unplanned Parenthood: Why Me?
2. Taking Immediate Action
3. Your Lifestyle: Changed and Challenged
4. Family at Large: Your Spouse and Other Children
5. Your Adult Children
6. Your Troubled Grandchild
7. Your Grandchild and the School
8. The Drug Epidemic at Home
9. When Parents Get Their Children Back

II. Through the Red Tape
10. Grandparenting and the Law
11. Child Protection and the Dependency System
12. Government Aid and Public Assistance
13. Special Education and Early Intervention

III. Strength in Numbers
14. Their Arms About Us: Finding and Forming Support Groups
15. The Call to Action

IV. Conclusion

V. Appendices
Appendix A: Resources for Grandparents and Relative Caregivers
Appendix B: Conversation Topics for Grandparent Support Groups


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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    I am 1 Of Those Grandparents

    This book is so inspiring as the title says I am one of those grandparents. I have had my grandchild since he was 2 months old. This book puts everything in order. Words you can understand. I started a support group thru reading this book and the group right now is small but we are getting there.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2002

    Saved by the book

    'Grandparents as Parents' has a wealth of information about people just like me. I know I will refer to sections over and over again. My husband and I are experiencing parenthood at a time when I thought we would travel and enjoy our time together. I wish I would have known about this book in September. The GAP organization is not as well publicized as it should be. Sylvie's support groups are also very important to add to the information in her book. I have met people who are mentioned in the book - they are real people and are full of good advice.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2010

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