Challenges of Kinship Caregiving
With the increased need for kinship providers, it’s important to become aware of the many emotional and familial challenges of kinship caregiving. Here are just a few experiences that kinship caregivers struggle with.
When caring for your kin child, it’s common to feel as if you have failed as a parent because your adult child cannot care for their own child right now. You may also perceive others to be judging you. After all, the actions of your child have resulted in their own child coming to your care.
Fear of what will happen to the child if you should fall ill or pass away
Fear of your ability to handle the child as you age
Fear that your kinship child will turn out like their parent
Fear of “messing up” and having child protective services step in (again)
Fear of being judged by the agency as too old
Fear of the impact this will have on your relationships with your extended family
Fear of financial struggle
You might feel guilty about the lack of time caregiving now leaves for your other grandkids or your other kids, even if they are adults. You may even struggle with guilt over how kinship care impacts your time with your spouse. This dismay might feel magnified if you are in a second marriage or partnership. After all, your new partner did not sign up to help you raise children (again).
You may feel angry at your child or family member who “put you in this position.” It’s okay to resent that their decisions and life struggles have impacted you and this child. Just be careful not to linger there or parent from that place of anger. Kids who have experienced trauma can be susceptible to that emotion.
Many kinship providers experience the pain of divided loyalties. The feeling of having to choose a side, whether between your child and their partner or between other family members, is painful for everyone—especially the child. Divided loyalties force you to reconcile your love for your child and the desire to protect them with the need to protect the best interest of their child.
For help with these challenges and others you may not have considered, register for the Unique Role of Kinship Care: Connect the Dots and Strengthen the Knots learning experience and walk away with tools to prevent further fraying of your family.