CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED BY GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDCHILDREN: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY
AbstractFamily structures and roles have evolved over time. In South Africa the extendedfamilies that characterised the black social structure in the past have been affected bymodernisation and urbanisation (Ingstad, Bruun, Sandburg & Tlou, 1992:379;Department of Welfare and Population Development, 1997:58). The typical family,where the older persons were part of the extended family, was replaced with a new kindof family. Modernisation, which led to the migrant labour system, meant that youngermen left their parents, wives and children in the rural areas to look for jobs in the minesand factories in towns and cities. Furthermore, people started to rely less on subsistencefarming, and young women also joined men in seeking jobs in the cities and oncommercial farms. This led to a situation where grandparents and younger childrenremained in the rural areas, while younger members of the communities sold theirlabour where job opportunities existed. However, factors such as unemployment andlow wages have also resulted in young parents shirking their responsibilities ofproviding financial care for their children, so that many grandparents have been forcedto take over not only the physical care of their grandchildren, but are also expected toprovide for all the other needs of the grandchildren. This full-time responsibility fortheir grandchildren has proven to be strenuous to the elderly care-givers.
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