«  previous  |  1 2 3 5  |  next  »Displaying posts 16 – 20 of 24 

Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren

Friday, August 2, 2013  by sarah

By Barbara Lockhart, CYSA President

According to Eshleman and Bulcroft (2006), in general, most grandparents find their role as a grandparent to be significant and emotionally fulfilling, as well as providing them with a sense of personal and familial renewal, a diversion in their lives, and a mark of longevity. The social construction of the ideal image of grandparents ( in Western culture) generally portrayed them as “cookie-baking” and “knee-bouncing” people that pinch the cheeks of children and have lots and lots of wrinkles. This is an image that is quickly fading out and a new younger, fresher, and hipper grandma and grandpa are beginning to emerge. As noted by Eshleman and Bulcroft (2006), with the majority of men and women in U.S. society marrying in their mid-twenties and with many of them having children within the first two years of marriage, parents may become grandparents in their forties. Even though they may be younger and living longer, do grandparents really want to become “parents” to their grandchildren?

                Williamson, Softas-Nall, and Miller (2003), have noted that increased drug and alcohol problems among young adults; increase divorce rates; harsher sentences for criminal acts, especially those involving drug sealing; the spread of HIV/AIDS; and increased teen pregnancy rate are causing many children to be without adequate parental care. Often after the intervention of the police or a child welfare agency the children may be placed with their grandparents. The question is for how long and what is the overall impact and result of this family structure?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of grandparents “parenting” grandchildren?


                Families’ staying somewhat in tact is one advantage to this situation. The trauma and stress that many of these kids have experienced at the hands of their parents is hard enough, but placement if foster care with essential “strangers” may lead to more issues fro the child (ren). According to Kropf and Burnette (2003), custodial grandparents are making a major contribution to their families, their communities, and society. This is accomplished by these grandparents serving s a safety net between their grandchildren and the formal foster care system. Other advantages of raising grandchildren as noted by Pruchno (1990), is that the experience typically engenders positive outcomes, including the satisfaction of nurturing and sustaining family ties, enjoying the companionship of a grandchild, and maintaining the meaningful ties with younger generations (as cited in Kropf & Burnette, 20003, p. 365). Additionally as noted by Kropf and Burnette (2003), grandparent-headed families provide a rich instance for analyzing social and family policy.


                Making the decision to become “parents” to one’s grandchildren can be rewarding, but it is not with out its serious challenges. As noted by Kelley and Damato (1996), and Pinson-Milburn et al. (1996), becoming caretaker grandparents leads to increased physical, emotional, and economic vulnerability ( as cited in Williamson, Softas-Nall, & Miller, 2003, p. 23). Many grandparents that end up raising their grandchildren experience resentment and stress, feeling that their “job” as a parent is over; these often become a situations riddled with role ambiguity, with many grandparents longing to be the type that visit their grandchildren, and then go on about their own lives.  Other disadvantages for this family structure are often wrapped up in financial problems, mental and physical health concerns, social isolation issues, and emotional and behavioral problems of the children both in the home and at school that the grandparents are unable to, or not equipped to deal with. As noted by Kropf and Burnette (2003), research on custodial grand parenting has identified several stressful aspects of this role. Bowers and Meyers (1999), Jendrek (1993), Minkler and Fuller-Thompson (1999), Morrow-Kondos, Weber, Cooper, and Hesser (1997) et al, note that raising grandchildren is physically demanding, and the role demands may contribute to development and/or exacerbation of existing health or functional problems ( as cited in Kropf & Burnette, 2003, p. 362).


                The resources that need to be available to grandparents that are “parenting” their grandchildren are important to note.  Some of the most significant resources that grand-parent headed households need are in the form of social policy support. The recognition and legitimization of grandparent-headed households as true families is integral to assist these families in alleviating stress and anxiety on the physical, emotional, mental, and financial levels. As noted by Kropf and Burnette (2003), families headed by grandparents afford an opportunity to examine policies across the domains of child welfare, aging, housing, healthcare, and income maintenance. Reexamining grandparents headed housel old and their eligibility for services to assist in providing for their grandchildren warrants serious attention.  It is also important for communities to step up to the plate and offer support and access to resources for these families, such as possible financial assistance, counseling, and support groups. As noted by Williamson, Softas-Nall, and Miller (2003), support from families, friends, and some service agencies can be a source for happiness for grandmothers’ raising their grandchildren and are often associated with feelings of love and closeness. top Top

Developmental Asset - Cultural Competency

Wednesday, July 24, 2013  by sarah

By Barbara Lockhart, President CYSA

Often we hear little "buzz words or phrases" in our social or professional circles and wonder: Hmmm... What does it really mean? Cultural competency was one of those phrases for me when I first began pursuing a career in social work. It seemed that every other professor I had in college was chatting it up about cultural competency!  Of course now I understand that true cultural competency begins at home! Teaching our kids to understand and accept the differences which may exist between themselves and others is the first step in creating and maintaining an environment that will reflect kindness, understanding, & tolerance.

When a young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds it only adds to their character and helps them to develop a more eclectic & rich world view. It is often scary when we are faced with an idea, a way of dressing,  foods, and customs and values that are not the same as what we are used to, but that is actually the fun part of it...the not knowing, the discovering of something new & cool... adventuring outside our own little box! The truth is that often we have something new and cool to share from our own set of traditions, customs, and values with others who often find them to be just as cool! After all, the saying goes: "Dare to be Different"  not  "Dare to be the Same!" top Top

The Power of Assets

Monday, July 15, 2013  by sarah

By Barbara Lockhart, Board President CYSA

When most of us think of having “assets” we think of the tangible things which we own that have value, usually a monetary value; like cars, houses, etc. Well the idea of having developmental assets is not that much different, though the value of having them goes way beyond any monetary price tag, they are simply put: priceless.

About 3 years ago I was fortunate enough to be invited by the Southeastern Regional Action Council to be trained in the Essentials of Asset Development. This model created by the Search Institute identified 40 positive experiences and qualities that every child and young person needs to have in their lives to reduce their risk of “slipping through the cracks”. It is not as daunting as it may sound, as a matter a fact many of us already have been practicing this model without even realizing it sometimes! And it really does work!

The evidence of this model’s success rate is overwhelming and in this time of transparency and accountability, having concrete evidence of a program’s efficacy is critical. It comes down to the basics really, that often in our early years of life we are deeply impacted by our surrounding environment and it often shapes us into the adult that we will become, it is not an exact certainty, but again the evidence speaks for itself.

There are eight categories which each of the 40 assets fall under. They divided into external assets (those experiences outside of a person) and the internal assets (the characteristics and experiences inside of a person).   Listed below are the 8 categories that truly reflect the core tenants of the developmental assets:



•Boundaries & Expectations

•Constructive Use of Time

•Commitment to Learning

•Positive Values

•Social Competencies

•Positive Identity

There is a little more to the program, but it would take much more space! So let me leave you with a couple of thoughts: Essentially assets build support networks for young people by providing:

•Role Models

•Safe places to go

•Experiences that are constructive & empowering top Top

Open Letter from CYSA's Board President

Tuesday, June 18, 2013  by sarah

June 18, 2013

Happy Summer Everyone!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish all of you a happy, safe, and fun summer season! What a year it has been for the State of Connecticut. We have had our share of triumphs and tragedies, and through it all I know one constant prevailed, which was a sense of community solidarity. Whether responding to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, or one of the saddest days in CT with the truly horrific events in Newtown at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the people of Connecticut (and even beyond) rose to the challenges faced by those impacted by the storms, and the families of the Newtown victims with kindness, grace, and compassion. Volunteers flooded in from all over simply offering whatever help they could to ease the pain of others. This is the best side of human nature that we often forget exists inside each and every one of us.

Of course YSBs were right on the front line offering our assistance and support. Clothing, food, & toiletry drives were quickly implemented, & YSBs assisted in organizing emergency shelters and helping local families find some measure of comfort and relief. In response to the tragedy in Newtown YSBs offered crisis and trauma intervention services and counseling services for both the families and the first responders whom will forever be changed by this sad day. The outpouring of support that so many of CT’s families have received from so many organizations, businesses, individuals, and families in response to these difficult times was admirable and appreciated. In the months that have followed CYSA became more deeply involved at the state capitol regarding legislation which pertained to both school safety and mental health. Several CYSA members/YSB Directors either testified in person or submitted testimony on both of these important issues on multiple occasions and as a result YSB’s are now a part of the conversation regarding these two crucial issues. 

The completion of the newly upgraded and freshly redesigned CYSA website is a major accomplishment for YSBs statewide. This site, which functions as a virtual office for the association is a great resource for a diverse audience of people involved in youth and family services work. The tireless efforts of your chapter representatives, the CYSA Board, our CYSA consultant, and the CYSA lobbyist made for a banner year for Connecticut’s YSBs! We are looking forward to another amazing year for 2013-2014. Please do not hesitate to call upon us should you need anything. Again, I wish you all a happy, safe, and healthy summer season!

Best regards ~ Barbara top Top

School Safety

Wednesday, May 29, 2013  by sarah

In light of the conversations surrounding school safety, new legislation proposed and new mandates implemented, I thought this would be an interesting read for YSB folks.  Barbara Lockhart, CYSA President Click Here to read article. top Top

«  previous  |  1 2 3 5  |  next  »Displaying posts 16 – 20 of 24