Thoughts on grandparenting, guiding, the past, and handling 21st Century issues, no matter what your age
"Nobody can do for little children what grandparents do. Grandparents sort of sprinkle stardust over the lives of little children".
--- from the writings of Roots author Alex Haley
Friday, April 7, 2017
The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Modern Grandparenting
You can’t miss them. Grandparents are everywhere: on the school run, in the playground, waiting in the doctor’s surgery, reading to children in school, manoeuvring buggies onto trains and buses, standing loyally in goal. As hands-on providers of childcare, “the grands” have never been more visible or more indispensable to working parents.
It’s a task force of willing recruits. From the moment you meet your child’s child for the first time, all previous notions of holding on to your old life slip away. Stealthily, a transition is made, a new kind of covenant entered into. Even grandparents who are still working themselves are sucked into the arrangement: once their first grandchild enters the world, they are part of the practical, emotional and financial support system that keeps working mothers working and provides a safety net for the whole family.
One in four grandparents make sacrifices to be able to give money to their families, helping to finance mortgages, buy clothes or pay for extra-curricular courses or school fees. Many reduce their own working hours to help out. They are the backstop in school holidays and an anchor in medical emergencies and family crises. The expectations, as well as the rewards, are greater than they have ever been.