What is a grandparent to you? – International Study of Grandparenting
What do you think about when I say grandparent?
Cinnamon roles, a warm smile, a friendly voice and some amazing stories told and songs sung before going to bed on a summer’s eve? A prankish friend with a childlike mind inventing new games, adventures and setting up family shows starring you as the main act anytime the family got together? A strict head of family, speaking slow and only when necessary, that sets all the rules and expects you to pay your respect and loyalty?
Whichever is your personal memory of a grandparent I’m sure it’s a special one, which is why I felt a particular warmth inside when I came across a particular news article when preparing for my latest blogpost on Active Ageing. The article was about a new research project on grand-parenting, reported by the European Union’s initiative of focusing the year of 2012 on the topic of Active Ageing and Solidarity Between Generations (the former part of that focus being one that I particularly feel about).
Launched in October 2011 by the organization Grandparents plus, the research project, or International Study of Grandparenting, set out to examine the role of grand-parenting across Europe, and answer the questions of how grand-parenting differs from family to family and from country to country and how family policy frameworks shape the role of grandparents.
One thing that the pre-study, launched in 2010, found is that grandparents’ role in family life is likely to become more important as populations age. Parents of tomorrow are both more likely to have parents that are alive, but also healthy and financially stable, and thus can take a bigger part in their grandchildren’s lives. Therefore it is also increasingly interesting to look at how legislation and social policies across different countries have dealt with the inclusion of grandparents in family life, where examples such as transferable parental leave in Germany, basic state pension credits for taking care of grandchildren in the UK or financial support for grandparents of teenage parents in Portugal are a couple of the forerunners.
While looking forward to the results of the newly launched research project maybe you have your own good grandparent story to share? What is your best grandparent memory? For me, my viking grandpa has provided me with a couple of good ones for sure. Maybe that could be the topic of another blog post?
Til then, Happy (soon) Grandparents Day Poland! (21st of January) (First country in the world to start celebrating the tradition of a National Grandparents Day.)