by Donna Martinez
Former Senior Writer and Editor, John Locke Foundation
From movies to TV shows, the new trend in Hollywood seems to the focus on family dynamics at play when grandparents are thrust into parenting a second time, as Steve Malanga discusses for City Journal.
In a film and television world dominated by superhero movies and dystopian TV series, it was striking that two of the few entertainments I’ve seen recently about the lives of ordinary people featured storylines with grandparents raising grandchildren. But the rise of single-parent families—more than one-third of American children now live with an unmarried parent—combined with growing drug-addiction rates has left more and more children without an available mother or father. The result is an emerging crisis that’s forcing grandparents to step in late in life and begin parenting all over again. The data attest to it: the number of children being raised by grandparents has been rising steadily, from 2.5 million in 2005 to about 2.9 million by 2015, according to Pew.
Thankfully these kids who’ve been abandoned by their parents have a place to call home and grandmas and grandpas who love them enough to sacrifice their wants and needs to save their grandkids. But as Steve points out, with the demise of two-parent families, what happens a generation down the road when their are fewer and fewer involved grandparents to step up in a crisis?
The answer may lie in another troubling trend—the sharp rise in the number of children in foster care over the last few years, which may only get worse. It won’t be easy for the next generation of Hollywood screenwriters or authors of children’s books to fashion that reality into inspirational tales—unless they make them fantasies.
Read Steve’s entire piece. It’s worth your time.