Grandparenting Styles

When people retire, their relationships with children, grandchildren, and other family members can be affected, a little or a lot, and for better or worse. While retirement frees a couple to spend more time with family members, it also can produce stress and conflict if the spouses aren’t in sync about how much time should be spent with the kinfolk. It’s a mistake to assume that everyone welcomes retirement as an opportunity to spend as much time as possible with offspring.
As we welcome the holiday season soon, here’s a look at several grandparenting styles, Our book, “A Couple’s guide to Happy Retirement,” includes many more along with explanations of family dynamics regarding these issues.

Common Grandparenting Styles:

• Formal. In this role, the grandparent is interested in the grandchild, provides occasional treats, but doesn’t invest large amounts of time in grandparenting or offer child-rearing advice to parents. A clear distinction is made between the role of parent and grandparent.

• Surrogate parent. Here there is no clear distinction between parent and grandparent. Typically, a grandparent—usually a grandmother—takes care of the grandchild, particularly if both parents are employed.

• Fun seeker. This style is marked by an informal, playful relationship between grandparent and grand-child. When they interact, it is often around games and other fun activities. This type of grandparent is a “buddy” to the child.

• Resource. This grandparent dispenses wisdom, teaches skills, helps with homework, and so on. Grandfathers often take on this style.

• Distant. This style is characterized by a distance between grandparent and grandchild, one that often goes beyond geographical distance. The grandparent sees the grandchild infrequently, usually on holidays or other special occasions, and there isn’t much emotional warmth.

• Safe haven. This style is characterized by warmth, closeness and emotional support. Again, regardless of geographical distance, the grandparents adoration, unconditional love and approval contributes to the development of a secure self in the grandchild.

For more see the book here, available for Kindle.