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More Grandparents Helping to Raise Grandkids

Girl (4-6) sitting on grandfather's shoulders, smiling, portrait
Photograph by Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

Our grandparents were generally the ones to spoil us as children. They came around to help out mom and dad and mostly gave us candy, let us stay up past bedtime and other innocent delights. But nowadays, grandparents are playing an even bigger role in the upbringing of their grandchildren.

A Brown University and the Russell Sage Foundation report called US2010 looking at changes in American society, found something interesting: In 2011, 1 in 10 U.S. children were living in the same household as a grandparent, and often that meant living in their grandparent's home, rather than their parents.

It's not much of a surprise considering that single-parent homes are on the rise and the fact that the economy hasn't bounced back for years. Grandparents are considered to be a safety net; their home is where you can go when everything else has fallen apart. And the report backs those beliefs up: "The study concluded that almost one-third of grandmothers who live with their grandchildren are the primary caregivers."

But cohabitation can be beneficial to both the parent and grandparent: The parent can work longer hours if the grandparent is taking care of the children, and the cost of living can be split among multiple parties, reducing the burden.

Plus, studies have shown that children who are raised by their grandparents and other family members are more "emotionally secure" and have better vocabularies than children who are put in day care or child care programs.

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