BACKGROUND: As of 2015, approximately three million children in the United States were being raised primarily by their grandparents. This study aims to examine, in a large national sample, to what extent grandparents raising grandchildren (GRGs) have difficulty with discipline and meeting their grandchild’s educational and social needs, find computers/other technology challenging, and subscribe to outdated health beliefs.
METHODS: An anonymous online parenting questionnaire was administered to GRGs recruited through state and local grandparent support groups and elderly service agencies.
RESULTS: 733 grandparents that self-identified as the primary caregiver of one or more grandchildren met inclusion criteria. 56.5% of GRGs reported difficulties with discipline, and 19.1% believed corporal punishment to be an appropriate method of discipline. Approximately a third of GRGs reported difficulties with their grandchild’s education, social and recreational activities. Nearly a third of GRGs did not find using their grandchild’s school website or portal to be easy; those who had difficulty were more likely to experience difficulties registering their grandchild for school (τ = -.127, p = .007) and were less likely to feel that teachers maintained adequate contact (τ = .242, p < .001). A large percentage of GRGs subscribed to outdated health beliefs, such as scrapes healing better if they are not covered with a bandage (64.0%) and ice baths beingan appropriate treatment for a fever (39.8%).
CONCLUSION: GRGs encounter significant parenting challenges, owing to generational differences. Healthcare providers and other professionals should provide GRGs with anticipatory guidance to ensure grandchildren’s needs are properly met.
(2020). Parenting challenges of grandparents raising grandchildren: Discipline, child education, technology use, and outdated health beliefs. GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy, 6 (1).
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/grandfamilies/vol6/iss1/6