Grandparents' Role in the Family

7:04 PM

Grandparents have always had a special role in the family. This is readily seen in the Philippine setting where the extended family set up is very much alive. Regardless of whether or not grandparents live on their own or stay with their children and their families, the influence they exert cannot be denied.

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So what are the roles that grandparents find themselves playing in the present time?

Childcare Back-up

With the high cost of babysitting and childcare services and the real risk in leaving children in the hands of people parents barely know, grandparents present a very good option for childcare. They are relatively easy to call unless they are still employed or busy with some personal endeavor. No matter, it has been proven that doting grandparents will find a way around their busy schedules to prioritize their grandchildren in emergency situations.

Financial Assistance

Most grandparents are financially stable by the time grandchildren arrive in the family. That is why many grown-up children with families of their own still find themselves knocking at their parents' hearts and pockets for support. However, since retirement is equivalent to having no steady income, again unless a business has been set up to provide it, adult children seeking help from their parents should determine which financial needs would justify the request for financial assistance. It has to be remembered that most grandparents already have health concerns with accompanying considerable costs.

Role Model 

Grandparents are often held in esteem by members of the family by virtue of life experience and resulting wisdom. They represent family history to the young generation and is usually consulted in matters of grave importance. Presumably done with the pressures of parenthood, grandparents are more able to enjoy spending time with kids in a much lighter environment which makes it more conducive for children to listen instead of just reacting. In many families, grandchildren are interested in getting the stamp of approval from their grandparents for their accomplishments.

My Say

There is no question that grandparents play a big role in the family. The value of their presence and participation cannot be underestimated. However, I believe it should be made clear that under normal circumstances where the parents are present, grandparents' role is more of support than control. The very reason why grandparenting is enjoyable is the fact that they can concentrate more on being a friend rather than the disciplinarian to the kids. It is not uncommon for children to see their grandparents' home as a refuge when matters become too heated up at home.

That said, grandparents will find themselves playing many roles as they adjust to the growth of their grandchildren. Sometimes, they will be called upon to perform several at the same time. To most, that would be most welcome as it would reflect their continued relevance. Wise grandparents however, would know when to intervene and when to step back for the greater good of the family.

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  1. There were times in my childhood where we were left to live in our grandparents' place, since our parents were prepping for our moving to a city. Since, we were the only ones who've been living with them, disciplinary actions were still given to us with my younger brother. But I can really attest that they usually are our older friends. And it really feels good that whenever you get to come back home, to see them smiling because you're there. :)


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