Intensive Grandparenting? Exploring the Changing Nature of Grandparenting in the UK

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 09:15
Oral Presentation
Vicki HARMAN, University of Surrey, United Kingdom
Michelle WEBSTER, Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom
Benedetta CAPPELLINI, Royal Holloway, University of London, United Kingdom
Although many grandparents provide regular care for their grandchildren, relatively little academic attention has been paid to the nature of contemporary grandparenting. Indeed, little is known regarding the practices currently employed by grandparents or the way in which grandparenting has changed over time. This paper explores whether the changing nature of parenting (particularly the intensification of parenting and the notion of children at risk) has influenced grandparents’ narratives and practices. It does so by investigating the practices of grandparents in the UK who look after their grandchildren at least weekly. Employing one-to-one, photo-elicitation interviews, this study aims to shed light on whether the intensification of parenting has influenced the grandparenting role. The paper also explores emerging findings relating to the extent to which intensification of the grandparenting role has led to changes in grandparent-grandchild relations. In doing so, the paper contributes an increased understanding of the role and practices of contemporary grandparents in family life by engaging with and extending interdisciplinary academic debates on childhood, grandparenting, intensive parenting, doing and displaying families, and surveillance in family life.