Building Block 6

Development Stages of Parenting and Family Life
Building Block 6: Working with Families with Grandchildren
Items in the Research Summary
  • In the past, adults were grandparents for a short period—just about 10 years. Today, an adult may be a grandparent for 20 to 40 years. In the next generation, adults may spend half of their lives as grandparents, due to longevity. [Go directly to this item.]   
  • From the child's perspective, grandparents have changed from being rare in 1900 to being common in 2001. [Go directly to this item.]    
  • Grandparent roles have changed dramatically, as well. [Go directly to this item.]   
  • The mentor role for grandparents is less common today, especially among families in close contact. [Go directly to this item.]   
  • In recent decades, grandmothers have not seen their grandparent role as the "central" part of their lives. [Go directly to this item.]    
  • For most families, the norm of noninterference means that grandparents are for play, not for discipline. [Go directly to this item.]   
  • Geographical distance is the major factor in grandparent-grandchild contact. Across a state, contact may be just 2 or 3 times a year. Within the same neighborhood, a grandparent and grandchild will see each other more than 100 times a year. [Go directly to this item.]    
  • Older people today are more independent in terms of finances and therefore more likely to have their own homes after they retire. They may also be able to afford a second home or to move to a climate they like. Family geography increasingly assumes family at a distance. [Go directly to this item.]   
  • Alloparenting: grandparents are increasingly serving as alloparents to their grandchildren. (Alloparenting refers to parenting by someone other than the child's parents. The prefix "allo-" means "other.") [Go directly to this item.]   
  • Focus on grandparent-headed homes has produced produced valuable statistics and research findings for parenting and family professionals. [Go directly to this item.]