In cases where parents are unwilling or unable to provide adequate care for their children (e.g., financial obstacles, marriage problems, illness or death), grandparents often take on the role of primary caregivers. Even when this is not the case, and particularly in traditional cultures, grandparents often have a direct and clear role in relation to the raising, care and nurture of children. Grandparents are second-degree relatives to their grandchildren and share 25% genetic overlap.
A step-grandparent can be the step-parent of the parent or the step-parent's parent or the step-parent's step-parent (though technically this might be called a step-step-grandparent). The various words for grandparents at times may also be used to refer to any elderly person, especially the terms gramps, granny, grandfather, granddad, grandmother, nan, maw-maw, paw-paw (and others which families make up themselves).
In Bangladesh, Pakistan, and many parts of India, maternal grandparents are called Nana and Nani. Similarly, paternal grandparents are called Dada and Dadi. One's parents' maternal grandparents are called Par-nani and Par-nana. On similar lines, parents' paternal grandparents are called Par-dadi and Par-dada.
Given that people may have two living sets of grandparents, some confusion arises from calling two people "grandma" or "grandpa", so often two of the other terms listed above are used for one set of grandparents. Another common solution is to call grandparents by their first names ("Grandpa George", "Grandma Anne", etc.) or by their family names ("Grandpa Jones", "Grandma Smith"). In North America, many families call one set of grandparents by their ethnic names (e.g., Hispanic grandparents might be called abuelo and abuela or "abuelito" and "abuelita", French grandparents might be called papi and mamie, Italian grandparents might be called nonno and nonna, or Dutch and German grandparents might be called Opa and Oma. In Flanders pepee or petje and memee or metje are most used). In Friesland, a common pair is pake and beppe. Mandarin-speaking Chinese people refer to maternal grandparents as wài pó (外婆, mother's mother) and wài gōng (外公, mother's father) and paternal grandparents as nǎi nai (奶奶, father's mother) and yé yé (爷爷, father's father). In the Philippines, grandparents are called lolo (grandfather) and lola (grandmother).
Languages and cultures with more specific kinship terminology than English may distinguish between paternal grandparents and maternal grandparents. For example, in the Swedish language there is no single word for "grandmother"; the mother's mother is termed mormor and the father's mother is termed farmor. However, the other Scandinavian languages, Danish and Norwegian, use words which specifies the kinship like in Swedish (identically spelled among all three languages), as well as using common terms similar to grandmother (Danish: bedstemor, Norwegian: bestemor).
The parents of a grandparent, or the grandparents of a parent, are called the same names as grandparents (grandfather/-mother, grandpa/-ma, granddad/-ma, etc.) with the prefix great- added, with an additional great- added for each additional generation. One's great-grandparent's parents would be "great-great-grandparents".
Individuals who share the same great-grandparents but are not siblings or first cousins are "second cousins" to each other, as second cousins have grandparents who are siblings. Similarly, "third cousins" would have great-grandparents who are siblings, and "fourth cousins" would have great-great-grandparents who are siblings.
Grandparents are changing their roles in contemporary world, especially as they are becoming increasingly involved in childcare. According to a 2012 study based on 2010 census and survey data, around 10% of children in the U.S. live in a household including a grandparent. Of these, approximately a third live in a household consisting of two parents and a grandparent. Likewise, more than 40% of grandparents across 11 European countries care for their grandchildren in the absence of the parents. In Britain, around 63% of grandparents care for their grandchildren who are under 16 years old. Grandparent involvement is also common in Eastern societies. For instance, 48% of grandparents in Hong Kong reported that they are taking care of their grandchildren. In China, around 58% of Chinese grandparents who are aged 45 or older are involved in childcare. In Singapore, 40% of children from birth to three years old are cared by their grandparents and this percentage is still increasing. In South Korea, 53% of children under the age of 6 years old are cared by their grandparents. Therefore, grandparents taking care of their grandchildren has become a prevalent phenomenon around the world.
There are a few reasons why grandparent involvement is becoming more prevalent. First, life expectancy has increased while fertility rates have decreased. This means that more children are growing up while their grandparents are still alive and able to become involved in childcare. In addition, the reduced fertility rates mean that grandparents can devote more attention and resources to their only grandchildren. Second, more mothers are involved in the workforce, and thus, other caregivers need to be present to care for the child. For instance, in Hong Kong, 55% of grandparents reported that they took care of their grandchild because his or her parents have to work. In South Korea, 53% of working mother reported that they once received child care services from their parents. Third, the increasing number of single-parent families creates a need for grandparental support.
The degree of grandparent involvement also varies depending on the societal context, such as the social welfare policies. For example, in European countries such as Sweden and Denmark, where formal childcare is widely available, grandparents provide less intensive childcare. By contrast, in European countries such as Spain and Italy, where formal childcare is limited, and welfare payment is low, grandparents provide more intensive childcare. In Singapore, the grandparent caregiver tax relief was established in 2004, which enables working parents (Singapore citizens with children age 12 and below) whose children are being cared for by unemployed grandparents to receive income tax relief of 3,000 Singaporean dollars.
Grandparents have different functions in child development. Not only do they provide instrumental support such as picking grandchildren up from school or feeding them, but they also offer emotional support. Furthermore, grandparents protect children from being impacted by negative circumstances, such as harsh parenting, poor economic status, and single-parent families. In addition to providing support, grandparents can also help grandchildren with their schoolwork or teach them values that are integral to their society.
Grandparents can have a positive or negative impact on child development. On the one hand, previous research suggests that children and adolescents who have a close relationship with their grandparents tend to have better well-being, experience fewer emotional problems, and demonstrate fewer problematic behaviours. They are also more academically engaged and are more likely to help others. On the other hand, there are also research studies indicating that grandparent involvement is associated with more hyperactivity and peer difficulties among young children. In other words, children who are cared for by their grandparents can have more interpersonal relationship problems. Also, children who are under the care of their grandparents have poorer health outcomes such as obesity, and more injuries due to low safety awareness.
However, there are also positive effects of being involved in grandchildren raising. Compared with grandparents who do not provide caregiving to their grandchildren, those who take care of their grandchildren with long hours are more likely to have better cognitive functions. To be more specific, taking care of grandchildren helps elder grandparents maintain their mental capacities in later life, they are also less likely to develop diseases such as dementia. Moreover, frequent interactions with their grandchildren could reduce the cognitive aging process, allowing grandparents a chance to live a more vibrant and active life. Grandparents also get benefits of physically exercising more during this process.
In the US, taking care of grandchildren is not a necessary responsibility of grandparents. Grandparents taking care of their grandchildren is often caused by involuntary events or crisis, and it is more like a solution to a problem, not an initiative desire, which is a distinct difference from that in China. For example, grandparents in the USA often take care of their grandchildren when their adult children get into troubles such as substance abuse, incarceration or parental death. Differences also exist in different ethnicities in the US. Caucasian individuals generally regard individual independence as more important, so grandparents are less likely to take care of their grandchildren. However, African American and Latino individuals are more likely to regard looking after grandchildren as a family tradition and are more willing to provide help for their adult children. Ethnic differences in grandparents looking after their grandchildren reflect different cultural values that different ethnic groups hold. To be more specific, African American grandparents are more likely to provide guidance and discipline to their grandchildren due to their flexible family system in which relatives, nonblood kin are all willing to help each other. Latino families have a strong preference to live together and keep frequent contact with family members because most of them are immigrants or first-generation born in the US, they are more likely to live and function as a unit. Grandparents in Latino culture also play important roles in stabilizing the family unit as family leaders. Although Caucasian grandparents are less likely to raise their grandchildren, they have more cognitive or physical burdens of taking care of grandchildren compared with other ethnic groups, mainly because their caregiver roles are less normative, and they rely more on remote or companionate parenting styles. On the contrary, African American and Latino grandparents rely more on disciplinary and instructional parenting styles and they are less likely to have cognitive or physical burdens when taking care of their grandchildren. 041b061a72