Divorce, cohabitation, remarriage, serial romantic partnerships, and living apart together have been relatively common among these older age groups. Stepfamily research has expanded in recent decades, but most of the focus has been on younger stepfamilies, with primary emphasis placed on relationships between stepparents and stepchildren or remarried spouses. Initially, Ganong and Coleman identified three structural pathways to becoming a stepgrandparent: a younger adult could (re)marry a parent with young children or adolescents who would grow up to become parents themselves as adults; an older adult could (re)marry a grandparent; and an older individual’s adult child could (re)marry a person who brings to the union children from a prior relationship. Given that parents often tend to mediate the relationships among grandparents and grandchildren, it is not surprising that parents’ divorce affects grandparent–grandchild relationships. It is somewhat surprising that few researchers have examined divorce by grandparents.
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Despite the growing attention in the literature addressing the experiences of lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender (LBGT) youth and family acceptance, few researchers are examining these experiences in the relational context of being a grandchild or how grandparent–grandchild relationships enhance or hinder LGBT grandchildren’s experiences, especially when grandchildren disclose their sexual orientation to grandparents. This chapter discusses the important theoretical lenses used to understand and aids the study of LGB grandparenthood and reviews the literature on LGB grandparenthood and when grandchildren identify as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgender, and queer (LBGTQ). Perhaps more importantly to the advancement of the literature on LGB grandparenting, the chapter provides recommendations for future research on grandparenthood in the context of sexual orientation, and hopes that discussion is a call to action for family scientists, gerontologists, psychologists, and sociologists to closely examine grandparenthood when grandparents, grandchildren, or grandchildren’s parents identify as LGBTQ.
This book brings together the work of experts from a variety of fields such as adult development, adult education, family science, family therapy and counseling, gerontology, psychology, social work, and sociology. It is organized into four sections, each of which contains chapters reflecting a given theme as it pertains to grandparenting. Section one explores the breadth of the grandparent role from multiple theoretical perspectives, explores both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies in the study of grandparenting. It examines cohort effects and emphasizes the multigenerational developmental contexts in which grandparents and grandchildren are situated. In addition, it presents variations on grandparenting: grandfathers, great-grandparenting, and step-grandparents. Section two focuses on the diversity among grandparents, examining such issues as variations in sexual orientation in such persons, grandparents who are raising their grandchildren, and changing gender roles among grandparents. Section three examines the difficulties and challenges that grandparents face in enacting their roles as well as the resources and strengths they bring to bear. It discusses the impact of having to cope with both acute and chronic illness on intergenerational relationships, the design and implementation of interventions to positively affect emotional functioning. It discusses the clinical case study approaches to helping grandparents, resilience and resourcefulness in the face of stress. Section four emphasizes the societal and cultural aspects of grandparenting, exploring issues of race and ethnicity, grandparent education, global grandparenting, and many dimensions of social policy as they relate to grandparents. The last chapter pulls the material together in presenting a multidimensional, multileveled, and dynamic picture of grandparenting stressing the influence of evolving historical and interpersonal contexts on such persons and their grandchildren. It also offers suggestions for future research over the next two decades.
Adult education is available in many communities. These opportunities are welcome, although courses rarely focus on family relationships, the topic that has the highest priority among grandparents. An intergenerational strategy is lacking that would allow parents of grandchildren, and the grandchildren, to identify content they think could help grandparents understand younger relatives. This chapter describes the origins of grandparent education and a measurement tool that allows three generations to evaluate strengths, learning needs, and growth of grandparents. It briefly describes an inclusive plan to ensure grandparents living in care facilities have access to instruction, feedback on learning, and opportunity to engage in community service. The chapter respects for cultural differences based on identification of curriculum themes that match the uniqueness of particular populations. It provides a revised emphasis for adult education that focuses on family relationships, the topic with highest priority among grandparents.
This concluding chapter discusses grandparenthood and provides a brief description about the book. In this book, authors have presented multiple perspectives bearing on a deeper, multileveled understanding of grandparenthood, including the cultural/historical, developmental, ecological, cultural and cross-cultural dimensions, as well as from a clinical/family systems perspective. It attempts to understand the current and changing nature of grandparenthood, including the impact of changing historical and interpersonal contexts as well as the diverse roles that grandparents perform in families. Indeed, families today are different than before. With the increase in longevity and life expectancy leading to greater expansion of research on aging and the family, coupled with the growth of the grandparenthood literature, it is clear from the chapters in the book. The chapter concludes with future directions.
The chapter provides a brief summary on the demographic impact and trends regarding grandparents in the United States. It reviews the current knowledge and available evidence associated with grandparent practices and values among grandparents of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The chapter encourages future research regarding multigenerational relations, grandparenting, and the development of culturally tailored interventions. It pays serious attention to the role of culture on the experience of grandparenthood and the provision of care to grandchildren. However, the chapter considers culture as the specific medium where the meanings and practices of relationships and interactions among grandparents, their adult children, and grandchildren develop at a particular place and time. The chapter considers grandparenting to be a developmental transition where cultural practices are part of the larger sociocultural ecological system.
This chapter focuses on the clinical treatment of four impaired grandfamilies in rural areas. The approach and experience are similar to grandfamilies in urban areas, especially inner cities, but their social/economic situation may be more desperate and culturally enhanced, and with few resources. The first case study involves the treatment of a child from a toddler through his adolescent years the lens is on resilience. The second one looks at grandfamilies from a family systems approach. The third explores the impact of early trauma and transgenerational influences on the adult children and grandchildren. The fourth case study examines the role of the judicial system and the need for clinicians to advocate in the courts on behalf of grandfamilies. In all four of the cases, the chapter implements a holistic, but personalized, approach to mitigate the negative impact of substance- and alcohol-use disorders, family abuse, transgenerational effects, and cultural influences.
- Go to chapter: Grandparent–Grandchild Relationships: A Proposed Mutuality Model With a Focus on Young Children and Adolescents
Grandparent–Grandchild Relationships: A Proposed Mutuality Model With a Focus on Young Children and Adolescents
This chapter aims to more fully develop the often-overlooked observation that the grandparent and grandchild relationship is a mutual one. It focuses on conceptual model of the grandparent–grandchild relationships that one developed based on a linked-lives perspective, on their lived experience, their past research, and a careful review of the existing literature. In this model, it show that grandparent proactivity and grandchild–grandparent mutuality are essential features of a constructively interdependent relationship. The chapter starts by introducing a new mutuality model of grandparent–grandchild relationships. It provides a brief historical overview of the evolution of literature on grandparent–grandchild relationships. The chapter reports on major empirical studies that address relationships between young or adolescent grandchildren and their grandparents. It offers an experiential context and humanize the discussion by adding some personal reflections regarding grandparent–grandchild relationships and mutuality across multiple generations of the author’s family.
- Go to chapter: Grandfathers: Are Their Roles Changing and Is This Having an Impact on Grandchildren?
This chapter summarizes much of what is known, from scholars across the world, about grandfathers: the nature of their roles, their involvement with grandchildren, the influence of culture, and the possible impact of such involvement on their grandchildren and on the older men themselves. Many factors have impacted the number and functional status of grandfathers. Over time grandfatherhood has been shaped by culture and tradition, social conditions, and attitudes to older men. In addition to the changing roles of grandfathers over time, grandfatherhood today is further mediated socially and culturally through ethnicity. The question arises: Why should grandfathers care? Although evolutionary theory may explain why grandmothers are involved with grandchildren, the evidence is missing or absent when it comes to grandfathers. A central feature of recent grandfather research has been a number of studies linking grandfather involvement with child well-being.
The phenomenon of four-generation families has become more prevalent in recent years, reaching relatively high percentages in the oldest age groups. In Israel, as well in other developed countries, life expectancy has increased, and the phenomenon of four- and even five-generation families is more common. Many studies have examined the role and the significance of grandparenthood, and its contribution to the quality of life of both generations, the grandparents and the grandchildren. However, only few studies, most of them conducted in the United States, have examined the significance of great-grandparenthood, and the relations between great-grandparents and their great-grandchildren. This chapter describes the perception of the role and meaningfulness of Israeli Jewish great-grandparents: a comparison between the perceptions of great-grandparents and grandparents about their role and about their relationships with their great-grandchildren and their grandchildren, and its contribution to their quality of life.