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The second change for grandparents, and the one which is associated with more difficult issues in their own lives, is when they have to take over full responsibility for bringing up grandchildren because their parents are unable to do so, often because of drug or alcohol abuse.The relationship that grandparents have with their grandchildren can also be affected by the divorce and sometimes re-partnering of the parent generation.Secure attachment to parents is seen as vital for children's emotional development but less attention is given to attachment relationships with other significant family members.However, there are advantages for children in having attachments to a number of significant adults and especially to grandparents (Silverstein, 1991; Tizard, 1986).Contact with grandparents can be mutually satisfying for both generations.Grandparents are usually not so caught up with the daily routines and issues of living with the grandchildren and have more time to listen, observe and attend to small things than busy parents.
In the beginning the parent role may be the dominant one as they watch the inexperienced parents (their child and partner) trying to cope.
Grandparents, mostly grandmothers, are the major providers of child care for preschool children, particularly for babies and toddlers, when both their parents are in the workforce.
Grandparents also help parents with school-age children by picking them up from school, and by caring for them during school vacations.
Grandparents are excited to help take care of their grandchildren and be the matriarch or patriarch of their families but when it comes to their love lives, things can be complicated.
You are expected to be everything to everyone in your family, but what about doing something for yourself?Contact between grandparents and grandchildren is not entirely a matter of choice but depends on such things as physical proximity, the ongoing relationship that they have with the parents of the grandchildren and other demands on their time from other families of grandchildren (Cherlin & Furstenberg, 1985; Kornhaber, 1996; Troll, 1985).