- New American Grandparent: A Place in the Family, a Life Apart (Harvard Univ PR PB) | ruvevuju.cf
- The new American grandparent : a place in the family, a life apart
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Figure 3c: Agreement by FRSP staff that since the reforms an increasing proportion of grandparents wanted to spend time with their grandchildren, by service type, Substantial numbers of FRSP early intervention staff members 6 felt unable to answer the three questions posed in Figures 3a-3c , but of those who did, most of them agreed or strongly agreed that since the reforms, their service had seen an increase in fathers, mothers and grandparents taken separately wanting the children to spend time with the grandparents.
Only small percentages disagreed or strongly disagreed. Only small proportions of Family Relationship Centre staff disagreed strongly or moderately that there had been an increase in the proportion of mothers and fathers wanting their children to spend time with their grandparents; but almost a third disagreed that there had been an increase in the proportion of grandparents among their clients wanting to spend time with their grandchildren. One obvious difference is that after the reforms, FDR services continued as they had in the past to charge a fee, whereas family dispute resolution that occurred in an FRC was free for the first three hours.
In addition, it is important to note that Family Relationship Centres offer considerably more than family dispute resolution services, and not all FRC staff members are family dispute resolution practitioners. This may reflect the fact that, unlike family dispute resolution services, both Family Relationship Centres and the Family Relationship Advice Line grew directly out of the reforms and may have been culturally more strongly connected with the reforms' aspirations. Grandparents who participated in the GSFS were asked whether they were aware of the changes in the Family Law Act that recognise the right of children to have a relationship with their parents and others important to them, including grandparents.
They were asked to indicate whether they were "fully aware", "to a fair extent", "a little" or "not at all aware". They were also asked if, in their opinion, the legislative changes would make any difference in helping children to maintain contact with their grandparents, by indicating if they thought the reforms would be: "a great deal of help", "some help" or "no help at all".
In interpreting the patterns of responses, it should be kept in mind that the sample of grandparents is not representative of those who filled the criteria adopted for recruitment having at least one grandchild aged years whose parents separated between 1 January and 31 December see Text Box 1 for details about the sample recruitment. Eight per cent expressed no opinion on this issue. At the same time, the focus group discussions with grandparents revealed that although they may have heard or read about them, almost all of the grandparents had only a rudimentary understanding of the family law reforms or of the services that had been established or expanded.
I thought there were some changes to the financial side of it and, as you said, the amount of time you spend - whether it's , - but the contribution from the father, money coming from the father, was actually less now than it was before. Maternal grandmother, grandchild lived with mother. The only thing I recently read was they are actually reviewing custody. Is that currently happening? Maternal grandmother, grandchild in shared care time. I only heard that grandparents now have rights; that's all I heard. I didn't hear how you had rights, but I just hear that grandparents now have rights.
Maternal grandmother, grandchild with shared care time. I don't know a lot about them. I remembered when they were talked about and I read a little bit about [them]. I asked my son what was going to happen. He said that he felt it was going to be a fairer system between him and his ex-wife. If I find things in The Age about family violence or children, separate parents or - and they've usually got a web page or they've got a contact number - I've chopped those out and I fold them into a little thing and I say here's some compulsory reading.
We laugh. Other things as well that I think are interesting for child rearing. But at the library, it has the pamphlets on all manner of things. I've seen things there on your role as a parent and grandparent and children and those sorts of things, so I think that's a source. Maternal grandparent, child living in shared care arrangement. The extent to which such searches were inspired by the reforms was not clear. Certainly there was very little evidence of direct knowledge of the non-legal services that were available for these grandparents, their adult children or their grandchildren.
For example, few grandparents in the focus groups were aware of the existence of more than one of a list of relevant services shown to them at the time 8 and many seemed inclined to continue to see child and relationship issues arising out of separation within the more traditional framework of being essentially legal problems.
The data reported in this paper suggest that there is a widely held view among parents that it is important to maintain the same level of contact with grandparents as was occurring before parental separation. This is consistent with the recognition in the family law reforms that children have a right to maintain their relationship with their grandparents and other people who play a significant and beneficial role in their lives.
A majority of post-reform parents who had sorted out their parenting arrangements felt that time spent with grandparents had been taken into account, and most grandparents confirmed this perception. Pre-reform separated parents, on the other hand, were less likely to have taken grandparents into account. This change is consistent with the aspirations of the reforms.
In addition, there is evidence from family lawyers and family relationship practitioners especially those working in Family Relationship Centres and the Family Relationship Advice Line that following the family law reforms, more parents and grandparents had sought advice about the time spent between grandchildren and grandparents as a result of separation. It is also important to recognise that the data reported here speaks to changes in attitudes and practices that were taking place quite soon after the reforms had been put in place.
While most grandparents who elected to participate in the survey of grandparents attested to the fact that that their relationship with their grandchildren had been considered, there was also evidence that they had very little knowledge of the services available to assist them in achieving their goals in this respect, and only a rudimentary knowledge if at all of the aims of the reforms that refer to grandparents. In addition, although the data suggest that grandparenting issues are more prominent in the post-reform environment, it also remains the case that the pragmatics of post-separation child care arrangements continue to have a flow-on effect for many grandparents and grandchildren.
By this we mean that because mothers continue to be the major post-separation carers of their children in most cases, there is likely to be less time available for paternal grandparents to spend time with their grandchildren. Of course, some mothers with major care obligations will nonetheless encourage continued paternal grandparenting involvement, but the practical as well as emotional difficulties that pertain in such circumstances can be considerable.
It also needs to be acknowledged that, like all relationships, grandparenting covers a wide range of activities and levels of commitment. Finally, it seems likely that if the legislation continues to act in the direction detected in the research to date, new generations of grandparents will become increasingly knowledgeable about family law systems and services and will increasingly be willing to pursue their grandchildren's rights, under normal circumstances, to maintain and continue to develop relationship with their grandparents.
In the GSFS , this child was the youngest of those grandchildren aged years whose parents had separated. Unless otherwise specified, the concepts "child" and "children" refer to the "focus child" of a respondent and "focus children" of all respondents respectively. EISs consisted of: family relationship counselling services; men and family relationship services; specialised family violence services; and family relationship education and skills training.
While post-separation service practitioners almost always work with families in which a separation has already occurred, pre-separation service practitioners may find themselves working from time to time with families in which a separation has occurred, is about to occur, or occurs during the delivery of the service. It should be noted that the qualitative data suggest that Family Relationship Centres are also seeing estranged grandparents whose grandchildren have not experienced parental separation. While all Family Relationship Centres were included in the FRSP staff surveys, the questions on grandparenting issues were not asked of all participating staff members.
Qu, L. Grandparenting and the family law reforms. Family Matters , 88, Google Tag Manager. Family Matters No. Abstract This article focuses on some grandparenting issues in the context of the family law reforms. How common is it for parents to consider grandparenting time when developing their post-separation parenting arrangements? To what extent have family lawyers and relationship service practitioners noticed any change in the number of grandparents seeking their advice about issues in relation to the time they spend with their grandchildren? One of the major themes of this book will be the way in which the increase in divorce has altered the roles of grandparents once again-returning to some of them the greater functional role that was more Widespread a few generations ago.
Regardless of what grandparents do for their grandchildren, there is the question of whether being a grandparent has a major impact on the grandparents themselves. Every contemporary observer of grandparents has noted how important the role is in symbolic terms to the grandparents.
Becoming a grandparent is a deeply meaningful event in a person's life. Seeing the birth of grandchildren can give a person a great sense of the completion of being, of immortality through the chain of generations. It is an affirmation of the value of one's life and, at the same time, a hedge against death. Grandchildren are also a great source of personal pleasure.pecmealsdipcole.ga/dangerously-loving-meesh-2.php
New American Grandparent: A Place in the Family, a Life Apart (Harvard Univ PR PB) | ruvevuju.cf
Freed from the 50 The Modernization of Grandparenthood responsibilities of parenthood, grandparents can unabashedly enjoy their grandchildren. In our exploratory interviews, two grandparents independently recited the same aphorism: "Your children are your principal; your grandchildren are your interest. As we argued in chapter 1, social scientists interested in the family have not paid much attention to grandparents.
Perhaps this oversight is a result of the mistaken impression that grandparents belong to a bygone era. We hope this chapter has dispelled that impression. In the following chapters, we will present an account of the relationships between the grandparents and grandchildren in our national study. To repeat, we believe that a closer look at the changing nature of grandparenthood can help us better understand the broad, recent changes in American kinship and family life.
Without a clearer picture of the strengths and limitations of intergenerational relations, our sense of the contemporary family is incomplete. Let us tum, then, to the reports of the American grandparents we interviewed. They described themselves as playful companions, and the givers and receivers of love and affection. They told of an easygoing, friendly style of interaction with their grandchildren. This is the essence of the companionate relationship, the dominant style of grandparenting among those with whom we talked.
It was not, however, a universal style. In our preliminary interviews and in our national survey, we found some grandparents and grandchildren who saw each other so infrequently that they only could maintain a ritualistic, purely symbolic relationship. They had too little contact even to establish the easygoing, friendly relationship that is the basis for the companionate style. Their relationship can best be called remote. At the other extreme, we found some grandparents who took on an active role in rearing some of their grandchildren, frequently behaving more like parents than grandparents.
They tended to be in almost daily contact with their grandchildren, often after a disruptive event such as an out-of-wedlock birth, a death in the family, or, increasingly, a divorce in the middle 52 Styles of Grandparenting generation. Grandparents with this type of involved relationship still could be spontaneous and playful, but they also exerted substantial authority over their grandchildren, imposing definite and sometimes demanding expectations. It also became apparent during the course of the study that a grandparent often has different types of relationships with different grandchildren.
In fact, we will describe in the next chapter how grandparents tend to balance these different types of relationships. For now, let us consider some examples, drawn from our preliminary and follow-up interviews, of these three styles of grandparenting: remote, companionate, and involved. The Remote Relationship There was no mystery about why grandparents with remote relationships found it difficult to become more than symbolic figures in their grandchildren's lives.
Most simply lived too far away, as will be demonstrated later in this chapter when the statistical results from the national survey are discussed. But a few had remote relationships despite living near the study children. Myers, a middle-class woman, widowed some time ago, lives in a southern city.
While raising her three daughters, she urged them to be self-sufficient and independent, in case they were faced with crises such as the death of a husband or a divorce. But partly because of these values, she seems to have created an emotional distance between herself and her children and grandchildren.
The last time Mrs. Myers saw any of her seven grandchildren was at Thanksgiving, three and one-half months prior to the interview. Two of her daughters and four of the grandchildren live out of state. The third daughter-the mother of the study child, Jessica, sixteen, and two other children-lives only about ten miles away; but Mrs. Myers feels she has a "nice relationship" with her daughters, but she said, "I don't think they tell me everything when there are real problems Sometimes I bite the end of my tongue off to keep from asking questions.
Maybe I haven't handled Jessica the way I should have I should have made more time for her in my life. Myers replied in formal, unemotional terms: Well, I'm grateful that I've lived long enough to see the children. And I'm grateful that my children are carrying out the principles, the goals, the ideals that I wanted to put into them.
And I hope that my grandchildren put it into their children. You know, to lead the good life, be educated, and to continue your education long after you get out of school. It seems clear that Mrs. Myers is an emotionally distant figure in her grandchildren's lives, much to her current regret. Her parting words to the interviewer were, "If you think of any way to help me deal with my granddaughter, please let me know. Myers's difficulty stems less from geographical distance although that is a problem she faces with the families of her other two daughters than from her formal, reserved style of interaction with her children and grandchildren.
It is a style that we rarely observed-a throwback, perhaps, to the reserved style that the respondents attributed to their grandparents. But Mrs. Myers, who is after all a grandmother in the s, is not satisfied any longer with the kind of relationships she has created. Winters, a seventy-year-old black woman who was interviewed at a senior citizen center, told an interviewer: Well, I'll tell you about grandparents.
They do some extra loving. Especially when you don't have to just do everything and aren't busy [with children]-you know, spanking them and getting them going off to school, or whatever. You don't have that responsibility, so you have more love to spare; when you have grandchildren, you have more love to spare. Because the discipline goes to the parents and whoever's in charge. But you just have extra love and you will tend to spoil them a little bit. And you know, you give. Although she emphasized love and companionship, Mrs. Winters also recognized that part of the meaning of grandparenthood is bound up in the continuity of the generations: Every child should have a grandparent, and I think that's the best part of your life.
You know, it's just, I guess, reproduction or whatever it is, that you see your life going on like that. And increasing the family tree. And so it's something beautiful to look at. Still, without much responsibility for the grandchildren, grandparents such' as Mrs. Winters are free to focus on pleasurable relations. There was an overwhelming, unbounded character to the "extra love" she and other grandparents described, almost like romantic love.
When you get to be a grandparent you'll understand, but I don't think it can be told to you in words. You'll understand; you don't know where that love comes from. Winters, like many others we interviewed, seemed to welcome the opportunity to leave the rearing of her grandchildren to their parents. As was noted in chapter 2, some observers question whether this is an honest response, whether upon introspection grandparents would admit that their lack of authority is deeply unsatisfying. Perhaps some might; but most of those we interviewed appeared to approve enthusiastically of the common arrangement.
Here is Mrs. Winters again: The best part of being a grandmother is just that you can say, "Come here," and then, "Go over there, go, go. I mean, you can love them and then say, "Here, take them now, go on home. See, the responsibility, all that responsibility, is not there. So you can take them whenever you feel that, you babysit when you feel like it, and then you can go. It's nice. This is said by someone who obviously cares a great deal about her grandchildren and even lives with two of them. Yet responsibility is not something she wants. The "I can love them and send them home" motif was repeated often in the face-to-face interviews.
In our best judgment, these responses were honest and deeply felt. Having raised their own children, grandparents are ready to leave the tough work of parenting to the parents. They have paid their dues, and they are now approaching or in retirement. They feel that this is the time to enjoy life, to pass on to others the duties of working and parenting. In the past, far fewer people were fortunate enough to experience a financially comfortable, extended period of old age. Fewer had the luxury of leading an independent life. Now that this experience is widespread, 56 Styles of Grandparenting grandparents are choosing to make leisure rather than labor the basis of their relationships with their grandchildren.
Nevertheless, grandparents also know that even if they wanted more authority, it would be difficult for them to exercise it. For they subscribe to the widely held belief that grandparents ought not to interfere in the ways their children are raising the grandchildren. This "norm of noninterference," as we will call it, is recognized as a central feature of the relationship between older parents and their adult children in the United States. The power of the norm reflects the ascendency of the husband-wife bond over the parent-child bond; parents have no "right" to tell their married children what to do.
As one grandmother explained: Quite often it is said that the mother and father would still be together if the mother-in-law had not interfered. So I feel that situations between a mother and a father are very, very touchy situations. I feel that the mother-in-law has to be very careful, very tactful, how she gets in the picture, if she gets in the picture at all. I feel that unless it's Grandparents with companionate relationships may want to speak out, but they do not feel that they have the authority to act like parents.
They must learn the limits of proper grandparental behavior. Well, everybody has their own opinion as to how they raise children They'd. Oh, sure, you have to hold your tongue [laughter]. That's a big, important step. It is a big, important step because it is part of the process of learning the rules of grandparenting as practiced in most families today. Most of the grandparents with whom we talked have little to say concerning the major decisions about their grandchildren's lives. Here again, grandparents rationalize their lack of influence with reference to the norm of noninterference: They just tell me they're sending him off to camp, to some university-I don't know where it is he went last year.
And I say, "Oh, that's lovely, dear. I would never step into [her daughter or son-in-Iaw's] lives. I never have done that, and [her deceased husband] didn't believe in that. Because that's how you can break up a marriage, you know? Or consider Mr. Schmidt, who live in a small town in the Midwest; they have four children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, most of whom live nearby.
Years ago, Mrs. Schmidt's daughter Janice was seriously ill, and Mrs. Schmidt kept Janice's son Norman, the study child, for months at a time. Now she sees Norman, fifteen, once or twice a month. The last time the Schmidts had seen any of their grandchildren was three days prior to the interview. Despite the proximity of their extended family and the regular contact, the Schmidts are 58 Styles of Grandparenting careful to keep their distance from their children's and grandchildren's lives.
Schmidt explained: Sure we appreciate our grandchildren, and we do anything we can to help them along, and things like that. I think they ought to be a little bit left on their own I don't think the grandparents should interfere with the parents. There is even some suggestion that the Schmidts might feel a bit burdened by all their grandchildren and the responsibilities they entail: So, are there any other thoughts you have about being a grandmother that I didn't ask you?
Schmidt responded: I don't know what. I'm just getting too many to keep track of. They're nice to have and so on, but I said when Christmas time comes, what in the world are you supposed to do? Schmidt's remark, even though said partly in jest, suggests some ambivalence about her relationships with her grandchildren. But for many grandparents, probably including the Schmidts, the companionate style is seen as desirable and rewarding. For example, Mrs. Waters, who lives in an eastern city, resides a block away from her daughter and two children, one of whom is the fourteen-year-old study child, Linda.
Years earlier, Linda and her mother had lived with Mrs. Waters for nine months after the mother's divorce. And yet her visits with Linda are brief, often momentary, as when Mrs. Waters stops by her daughter's house and Linda is going in or out. Linda, who Mrs. Waters says is "very, very busy," never calls her grandmother, nor do they sit down often and talk. Waters explains this as normal behavior for a teenager.
She does not expect more, and she is satisfied with her relationships with Linda and her older sister Rachel, seventeen. Although Mrs. Waters speaks wistfully of the time when the grandchildren were younger and would stay overnight at her home or need help with homework, she accepts the fact that those days are over because the grandchildren are older: "Now that's gone because here's Rachel, she's seventeen years old. Who wants to go and stay with their grandmother at seventeen years old [laughter]? Waters derives great satisfaction from her past and present involvement with them.
Being a grandmother, she says, has been " a terrific thing. These children have been my life. Waters's acceptance of the limited nature of her current relationships with adolescent grandchildren suggests that there is a life course of grandparenting, a point to which we will return in the next chapter.
Satisfied and loving, but passive and accepting of the limitations of their relationship-these characteristics seem to describe the grandparents with companionate relationships. But just how satisfied were they? Smith lives a half hour's drive from her son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. Smith is unhappy because she doesn't get to see the grandchildren as much as she would like. Sometimes a few weeks go by between visits. She realizes that both her son and her daughter-in-law work full time and that the grandchildren are busy with school activities.
But she thinks they 60 Styles of Grandparenting could make more of an effort to see her. What, if anything, should she do about it? Many of the grandparents in companionate relationships were reluctant to propose action. Schmidt laughed at the end of the story, then said: We've run into that right now. All the kids are into everything, you know? Like I was always used to being by myself so much, that if they can come it's all right, and if they can't, they have to live their lives. Schmidt takes whatever interaction she can get and does not press for more. The same story led to a lengthier discussion with Mrs.
Hatfield, who lives in a small town in the Midwest: Just do like I do, just sit, and when they're ready, they'll come. I don't believe in begging anybody. No, I don't see my grandchildren all the time, but I know they're busy, especially at this age, teenagers. Always busy children. But I know they're there and they know I'm here. They might be busy, they have their own life too, but that doesn't mean there isn't love coming through. Maybe a couple of weeks, but that doesn't bother me. Because I'm busy and they're busy.
Yeah, we have friends. And I never get my feelings hurt if I don't see them, I don't even think about anything like that, because I know that eventually we'll get together But I know they're busy. Like one of the twins, she's bowling all the time, and the other one, she bowls too. And I don't expect them to call me. But if there's something going on and I need to know, they're there and they know I'm here. I don't know, but we sure get along great. We have a good time together. Hatfield leaves the initiative to her children and grandchildren primarily, it seems, because she cannot do otherwise.
Her grandchildren are busy, they have their own lives, and they have many other things to do. Unstated, but just beneath the surface, is the realization that Mrs. Hatfield has no way of making the grandchildren visit her more often. Her authority to make such a demand is limited by prevailing norms about the independence of children and grandchildren and by the plain fact that there is nothing crucial she can withhold or give to make them do as she would wish.
As a companionate grandmother, she is powerless to demand more access to them. Consequently, to ask for more frequent contact would be demeaning "I don't believe in begging" and in all likelihood, unsuccessful. Such a request would only strain her relationships. In order to maximize her emotional attachment to her grandchildren-which seems to be her goal-Mrs. Hatfield therefore accepts the current situation as the best that can be expected, rather than pressing for more. Despite their limitations, Mrs. Hatfield seems to feel genuinely secure about her relationships with her grandchildren.
There is still love coming through, she says. The grandchildren eventually will come around to visit. They know she is there if they need her. Moreover, they are teenagers, and teenagers are more involved with their peers. Hatfield seems to be reconciled, at the least, to being both connected to and separate from her grandchildren. She feels emotionally close to them 62 Styles of Grandparenting and accepts as natural and inevitable the restrictions on the amount of interaction they have.
Are Mrs. Hatfield and the Schmidts and other companionate grandparents satisfied with their relationships with their grandchildren? If you ask them directly, they say yes. Even under closer questioning, they maintain that the current state of affairs is satisfying r'We sure get along great; we have a good time together" and even preferable to greater involvement "Some people I think go overboard, maybe they do too much for their grandchildren".
It is also clear, however, that somesuch as Mrs. Hatfield-would like more interaction but know they are powerless to get it. Grandparents such as Mrs. Hatfield have a sliding scale of expectations that is adjusted up or down to fit the reality of what they can obtain. Critics may think they are fooling themselves, that these are not meaningful, vital relationships, but these grandparents by and large believe that they are, indeed, satisfied. In part, they are satisfied because they compare themselves to other grandparents who they believe get even less satisfaction-as when one of the grandparents at the Jewish senior citizen center contrasted herself with the "hidden ones" who won't say anything because there's nothing good to say.
In addition, it is possible that some of the companionate grandparents have more influence on their adult children's and grandchildren's lives than they admit. That they acknowledge the norm of noninterference is clear. But in order to learn whether they always adhere to it in practice, we would need more intensive, observational studies of the interactions among the three generations. Had we talked further with the middle generation, we might have found that grandparents exert influence in subtle ways. We would not be surprised if larger transfers of money, such as a partial downpayment on a house, are linked in the minds of parents and children to the maintenance of relationships that suit the older generation's values and needs.
The childcare services that many grandparents perform when the grandchildren are young also may yield influence, as may being available merely to consult or to offer helpful suggestions. Without close study of family interactions, we cannot exclude the possibility that although parents have all the formal power, companionate grandparents exert more informal influence than they say.
The Involved Relationship Mr. Sampson, who at age seventy-six has been a widower for thirteen years, lives in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of a midwestern city. Our follow-up interview with him was conducted at a cluttered dining room table filled with books, papers, correspondence, tools, and a typewriter.
He was quick to explain that having been retired for a long time, he has pursued lots of hobbies and interests and that he belongs to several fraternal organizations. His grandchild Bob, the study child, has recently gone off to college. Bob and his family live just two blocks away. Before Bob left for college, Mr. Sampson typically saw him two or three times a week. So what happens when Bob comes over? Well, we just talk about anything that comes up, or he comes over to get some help, or I do something for him, I want him to help me or something.
You know, we used to take a tremendous number of trips together and things. Does he just come and sort of hang around and talk? Mostly just talk. Unless there's something we want to fix up and all. I used to fix a radio and some of these things for him, same way that his dad and I work together on some of these things. And if he has a problem, he'll come over to see me And if I need help, like getting some screens down or putting screens in for the summer, taking the windows out for the winter, I'll get him to help me bring these down.
So the connection there, it just depends on what turns up. Real close, real close. In fact, all three grandchildren and I have had a very close relationship. I don't know. It's just the fact that we kind of grew up together, and grew up working with each other, and playing with each other. And one thing, of course, might have made some difference is I retired some time back-about two years after I retired my wife died, and I've been by myself, which gave me more time to spend with the boys. So when they were growing up I did spend a tremendous amount of time with them.
Lots of time together, lots of activities, lots of helping each other-these characteristics define Mr. Sampson's relationship with Bob. He also does not hesitate to discuss Bob's problems and to give Bob advice, "like about his relationship in college, that he's going to watch [out for] smoking and dope and stuff like that. And they have never resented that too much or anything.
Since her daughter's divorce, she has helped care for her grandson Darrel, fifteen, the study child. Now she sees Darrel only about once or twice a month, but when Darrel's mother is busy for an evening or a weekend, Mrs. Rice will keep Darrel at her house and then drive him to school.
No, I'll tell her. How about when you see Darrel do something you disapprove ot do you She is also consulted by Darrel's mother about major decisions: For instance, when she took him-when he came out of public school and went into private school, thinks like that. She talked about it because she had to pay the tuition, things like that. And she thought it was better for him. Even in his sports activities, she's talked it over with me.
Some of the grandparents in involved relationships were living with their grandchildren, often after their daughters' marriages had broken up.
These grandparents often took on the role of a surrogate parent-an intense, rewarding experience, to judge from the interviews, but one that also could be burdensome. When asked what it was like to live with her grandchildren, one grandmother replied, "Well, it's heaven and a hassle, 66 Styles of Grandparenting I guess you'd put it. Williamson, a sixty-three-year-old black grandmother from a midwestern city who lived with her daughter and her granddaughter Susan, sixteen, described a typical day: In the morning, Susan's mom is the first to leave the house.
Sometimes she will wake Susan up before leaving. If not, she will say, uMom, don't forget to wake Susan up! I prepare Susan's breakfast. Mornings that I have to be at work by eight o'clock, I will leave Susan here; she knows what time she is to catch her bus When we come in in the evening Susan actually gets in about ten minutes till four. Her mom and I get in about four thirty I prepare all of the meals I am the one that will insist that Susan eat a good meal, take her vitamin.
Susan will do the dishes. Then, after that, there's a period of looking at television, then Susan will get into her books. And she is going to finish that homework before going to bed. Susan, Mrs. Williamson says, uwill ask my opinion quite often before asking her mom's. Williamson told the interviewer, and there were no disadvantages she could think of to having her granddaughter live with her. When grandparents in involved relationships were read the story about Mrs.
Smith, the grandmother who is unhappy because she does not get to see enough of her grandchildren, they tended to recommend direct action. Unlike the grandparents in companionate relationships, they did not see why Mrs. Smith should just sit tight and wait until her grandchildren came around. Rice replied: Hmmm, let's see, what could she do about that.
I think so. They are busy, maybe she could talk to the parents and tell them to come on over, we're going to have a cookout. You know, she could invite them over.
The new American grandparent : a place in the family, a life apart
Find out what day-nobody's busy every day-find out what days they are not busy and that particular day put forth an effort to invite them over or go over to their place. The solution seems simple to Mrs. Rice; there is no thought that this course of action might be seen as interfering. Sampson noted that even if Mrs. Smith does not want to interfere in her children's lives, she could still communicate directly with the grandchildren: I think sometimes in a case of that kind there could be a little more effort done on that. But possibly the grandparents could help that by seeing the children without interfering with [the parents], taking their time.
In other words, the grandparents could possibly go and see them. As long as there wasn't any objection to doing that; I wouldn't think from what you said there would be an objection. It's just that the parents were tied up and didn't have time to do it. But maybe the grandparents would have time to do something. Sampson recommends that the unhappy grandparent circumvent the parents, but this is precisely what most companionate grandparents are reluctant to do.
Moreover, he dismisses the possibility that the grandchildren might be too busy with school or other activities to want to see more of their grandparents; rather, Nit's just that the parents were tied up. Rice and Mr. Sampson matter-of-factly recommend direct action because that is the way they manage 68 Styles of Grandparenting their own involved relationships with their grandchildren.
The authority they develop to advise and discipline their grandchildren and their involvement in the grandchildren's day-to-day lives gives them license to ignore the norm of noninterference. But even involved grandparents must modify their relationships as the grandchildren grow up. Sampson was well aware that Bob was becoming an adult, and he seemed to have come to terms with the impending change this would bring to their relationship. When asked what it meant to him to be a grandfather, he replied: I would hate like thunder not to be one No, to me it is really part of my life, and I would miss a terrible lot of activity, a terrible lot of pleasure and everything else, if I did not have grandchildren All the trips we used to take-it was fun for me, I enjoyed it.
I wanted to do it. And I would miss that if it weren't. Of course, I'm missing it now, but I realize that I can't keep up this activity because they have their own lives to lead. And I think that's one thing, grandparents sometimes make a slip on that: they don't realize that the kids are growing up. You've got your own life to live, I don't care what it is. I've lived mine, they've got theirs coming up. Of course I may miss it; I do. I miss the boy because he's away, I don't see him.
The New American Grandparent: A Place in the Family, A Life Apart
On the other hand, to help that I get into a tremendous amount of activities of my own. The relationship is changing, Mr. Sampson-implies, not because of any emotional distance, but rather that for older adolescents, growing away is part of growing up. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.
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