Studying the roles of 21st-century grandparents in a child's life.
As more families become two-income households, grandparents are playing larger roles in the lives of their grandchildren. Instead of shipping the kids off to day care, working parents often ask grandparents to step in and become caretakers. Though this often means putting their own plans for full retirement on hold, as Isay (Secrets and Lies: Surviving the Truths that Change Our Lives, 2014, etc.) discovered, for most grandparents, there is nothing they would rather do with their time. Taking care of grandchildren brings new life and energy into an older person's life, as well as a host of challenges, which the author covers in sufficient detail via personal stories and interviews. There's the dread of treading too far into the parenting realm, allowing the children to do, have, and/or eat things that contradict how the parents want their child to be raised. Being a mother-in-law is a particularly tricky role to play, as these women want to have as much interaction as possible yet are not always welcomed completely into the fold. Isay also delves into the fact that some elders take on the role of parents when the parents are unable to, whether due to jail time, drug use, or other mental and/or physical issues. Despite the obstacles, however, the author is clear in her message that grandparenting is a true joy filled with the innocence of childhood and the unconditional love that only a child can give. For anyone soon to become a grandparent, this practical book will answer many questions about what to do when the baby arrives; for current grandparents, it confirms what they know: being a grandparent is, for the most part, awesome.
Research and individual stories explain the special position of grandparents in a child’s life in a book that is unquestionably functional but not as inspiring as Lesley Stahl’s recent Becoming Grandma.