Factors Influencing the Relationships between Grandparents and Grandchildren: A Literature Review



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University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work


The number of non-custodial grandparents as childcare providers has decreased over the past three decades while the number of custodial grandparents has increased dramatically (Fuller-Thomson & Minkler, 2001). However, grandparents are still considered a resource in the family because they provide alternative resources and role models for grandchildren (Bengtson, Burton, & Rosenthal, 1993). Social workers increasingly have examined the needs of custodial grandparents who face many stressors, but the profession lacks current knowledge about functions of non-custodial grandparents who are important supports for families, which is especially crucial as the number of multigenerational households grow. As maternal employment rates rise, mothers increasingly seek alternative caregivers for their children. In 2005, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that after fathers (24.7%), grandparents were most often alternative caregivers (28.3 %), followed by multiple arrangements (22.4%), and daycare centers (20.6%). Especially when children are young, mothers tend to choose grandparents as childcare providers.



Seojin Won, Perspectives on Social Work, Grandparent Relationships, Social work, Perspectives on Social Work, Grandparent relationships