Content starts here

Grandparents Have Strong Role in Raising Children

Screen Shot 2013-08-12 at 10.15.09 AM

The following is a guest post by Maryalice Larson - AARP Iowa Lead Volunteer 



There's a silly saying that goes something like this:  "If I had known how much fun grandkids are, I would have had them first!"   The reality is that grandparents, whether through blood, marriage, adoption, even just a special friendship with a child, play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren.  I have 18, and I truly cherish the unique and special relationship I have with each and every one of them.

Contest: Post your memory of the birth of your grandchild

Of course, grandparenting today is often times far different than even just a generation ago.  As our society becomes more mobile, families and extended families can be strewn from coast to coast, even around the world, and everywhere between.  But distance is no longer a barrier to keeping up - and keeping close with grandchildren. With all the remarkable and revolutionary technology today, it's easier than ever to stay connected - no matter how far away they live.

In past years, grandparents may have lived just down the road, or at the very least in the same town.   Nowadays, instead of daily or weekly in-person visits, many "grands" keep tabs on their grandchildren through Twitter, follow their activities on Facebook, and schedule regular video chat sessions.   While we may not be at every soccer game or band concert, we stay connected in new and exciting ways.  We may miss out on fleeting moments in their childhood, but we still manage to maintain our family ties.

On the other end of the spectrum, a growing number of grandparents are taking on an even more active role by raising their grandchildren.  Research shows that more than 1 million children in the United States are living with grandparents without either parent present in the home.

Choosing to raise a grandchild by choice or out of necessity comes with its own set of unique joys and challenges. During this month's AARP Live we'll discuss what's great about being a "grand" and offer some guidance for grandparents raising grandkids.  I hope you'll tune in, and join the conversation, Thursday, August 15th at 10 PM ET/9PM CT on RFD-TV, or watch via the web at, or on Facebook! Call in during the program to ask questions, or share your highlights of being a "grand."

You can watch AARP Live! on RFD-TV (click here for "by ZIP code" channel locator). You can also watch it streaming live at or on Facebook at We encourage you to join the conversation by calling 877-731-6733 toll-free, or sending a tweet to  @AARPLive.


Also of Interest


See the  AARP home page for deals, savings tips, trivia and more


Search AARP Blogs