Intergenerational Relations in Rural Tamil Nadu: Grandparent –Grandchild Relations from the Perspective of Grandchildren

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:54 AM
Room: Booth 40
Distributed Paper
Rangasamy MARUTHAKUTTI , Department of Sociology, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University,, Tirunelveli, India
The bond between grandparents and grandchildren is of special interest as it involves a relationship cutting across generations. Grandparents are in a unique position to offer love, advice and receptive ear enhancing their ability to provide emotional help. Their financial aid at critical junctures is not uncommon. In the absence of or inability of parents, the adult grandchildren generally provide care for their grandparents.  In the absence of established expectations, obligations and rights permits both in the dyad have enough flexibility to build their relationship tailored to their needs and wishes while allowing freedom to minimize their contact or withdraw from the relationship.

The present paper examines the intergenerational experiences in terms of proximity, contact, time spent with, engagement and exchange from the perspective of 304 grandchildren residing in 9 villages in two districts of Tamil Nadu, India. The districts and the villages were selected using lottery method and the respondents each village were selected by systematic random sampling from interview method was used to elicit data. Analysis provided percentage, mean, paired analysis of difference and analysis of variance.

The findings reveal lineage and sex of grandparents are significant factors in shaping grandparent-grandchild relationship. In general, proximity, contact, time spent together and degree of exchange are greater with paternal grandparents than with maternal grandparents. Likewise grandfathers have greater integration than grandmothers. However, age and sex of the grandchildren play no significant role. The findings also underpin the role of joint family and large family size, which may imply joint living with grandparents, in enhancing the quality of intergenerational relations.