By Gina Noe
MADISON COUNTY —
Frustration! That is the word Pam Francis, Madison County Extension parent educator, hears most often from the Grandparents as Parents (GAP) group she facilitates.
Grandparents become parents again for a variety of reasons. Military deployments, teen pregnancy, death of a parent, economic difficulties, abuse, neglect, substance abuse and imprisonment of parent(s) are all circumstances that have led to an increase in “second parenthood.”
Whatever the situation, grandparents as parents face unique challenges.
After the downturn in the economy, several sources of assistance for grandparents have diminished or disappeared completely.
Many grandparents become parents again with little or no warning. They may not have the resources, supplies or stamina needed to care for a child.
Because the child comes to them later in life, they may also find themselves trying to provide for the needs of a child on a limited income with little or no financial assistance. Grandparents may find themselves as single parents for the first time, because of their spouse’s death.
Times have changed. Children, also, face different issues than children of a generation ago. Technology, cultural changes, and social media make parenting at any age a challenge.
The first Madison County Grandparents as Parents Conference will take place Tuesday, April 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Madison County Extension Education Center, 230 Duncannon Lane.
This conference is designed to help grandparents deal with some of the challenges and frustrations they will encounter while serving as parents for grandchildren.
The speakers will include: Martha Evans, well-known speaker and author of “Raising Your Children’s Children,” Dr. Judy Keith, author and grief/crisis counselor; and Judge Jeffery Walson if Madison Family Court.
The conference also will include resource booths, networking opportunities, door prize drawings, and lunch provided to all who register by April 12. The conference is free.
For more details on the conference, to register, or to find out about the ongoing Grandparents as Parents (GAP) group, call 623-4072.
Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.