Parenting: From the Beginning
Role of Grandparents
For some people, becoming grandparents can mean an addition to their parenting role, with the love of their own children being extended to their grandchildren. Such grandparents can offer trusted support to their children and nurturing of their grandchildren. Yet, this may not be so for other families as research shows the quality of the relationship that grandparents have with their own children can influence the development of the grandparent-to-grandchild relationship. So, because of a history of 'family friction' - for whatever reasons - some grandparents will be unable/incapable of forming a loving relationship with their grandchildren.
The role of a grandparent can also be complicated by changes in family structure. Grandparents themselves may be divorced, remarried, and as well as having their own grandchildren they may have step-grandchildren. Then in some families, grandparents have busy professional lives and others may feel distant because of being separated geographically from their grandchildren. Also, with their ageing can come a loss in grandparents' ability to feel useful in their grandchildren's lives.
What has to be considered is that for some families the addition of a grandchild (whether biological or non-biological) can mean the forming of a new family relationship, one of connectedness where grandparents can offer their grandchildren enrichment.