Grandparenthood: Changing Rules and Roles

Grandparenthood: Changing Rules and Roles

There seems to be a growing social problem affecting many families and that is a lack of respect for grandparents. Grandparents of all ages, races, cultural and socioeconomic differences are encountering obstacles visiting their grandchildren. Some grandparents have become alienated to the point of losing all access to a beloved grandchild, while others navigate a bumpy a road toward connectivity.

Gone are the days of parents depending on grandparents for childcare; the nanny has replaced that role. Gone are the days when grandparents lived down the street when they enjoyed being an integral part of the extended family; geographic mobility changed that.

Another factor in the demise of traditional grandparenthood has to do with the current state of parenthood. Grandparents today, who incidentally as the parents of the child’s parents, find themselves facing the “me” generation of adults in their 30’s and 40’s who have since adopted a new set of family values. These grandparents as parents of this entitled generation, wanted to give their children a better life and along the way they simply gave them too much. The overindulgence, therefore created selfish individuals who are unable to express gratitude, acknowledgement, or respect, instead it’s all about them.

So, to reiterate, grandparents are no longer needed, often live far away and parental attitudes have taken on a tone of indifference.

Those grandparents who have become estranged and also those who find themselves hanging by a thread as they struggle just to stay connected to their grandchildren find themselves in a place that they could have never imagined.

Raising awareness is vital to solving the problem. Once grandparents understand that they are not alone and that there are resources available they are more open to seek help.

Support and understanding from those who have experienced similar circumstances is a necessary coping strategy. Education is critical if there is to be resolution, and it’s the grandparents who will become the student of change not the parents. The ones reaching out for assistance are the ones most capable of change. Grandparents have to learn as quickly as possible to play by the rules dictated by parental authority if they want to preserve the grandparent-grandchild relationship.

Times have surely changed and rather than become obsolete, grandparents may want to think about rolling with it instead of fighting it.

Are grandparents becoming obsolete? Are they no longer needed?

By the number requests for help and books sold it would appear to be the case.