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Intergenerational Relations Childless Older Persons

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Presentation on theme: "Intergenerational Relations Childless Older Persons"— Presentation transcript:

1 Intergenerational Relations Childless Older Persons
Gero 408 Jan 2011

2 Trends in Childlessness
A high rate of remaining childless (25%) in women of childbearing age during the Depression. In Baby Boomers the rate was 10%. Today we have variable rates depending on circumstances. Women choose to have children at an older age due to reproductive technology Childless women % considered it a temporary situation and 42% were voluntarily childless. Factors-birth control, changing gender relations, feminism, and acceptable childlessness with non-reproductive sex relationships. Single and childlessness used to be related but now in transition

3 Transitions What are the perceived costs of parenting: Finances, opportunity costs, leisure time, careers. Balance with negative stereotypes and stigma-now terms are child-free and childless by choice. Impact of cohabitation The impact on QOL in old age-Top three advantages: fewer worries, financial wealth and greater freedom. Top disadvantages: lack of companionship and being alone, feelings of missed experiences and incompleteness, lack if support and care. Having or not having children does not guarantee happiness.

4 Grandparents and Grandchildren
80% of older people are grandparents, however, there are some grandbaby busts going on currently. Lower fertility and fewer grandchildren. 1/5 Boomers will have no grandchildren and numbers will fall to one or two grandchildren. In % of ten year olds had four biological grandparents and by 30 ¾ still had one grandparent. Grandparenthood is still a middle age phenomenon as half of all grandparents are under 60. The age at which one becomes a grandparent is matched with the stage of life and the other activities one is engaged in. Increased labour force participation and divorce are two key variable which affect grand-parenting. Overlapping parenting, step-parenting, step-grandparenting

5 Grandparenting Regular contact with one grandchild is the norm with over 80% of grandparents aged 50+ Age of grandchild is a key factor in contact frequency Nature of the relationships-Virtually all interactions between grandparents and grandchildren are dependent on the parents. In late adolescence and adulthood GP/GC interact independently. GP may mediate between their own children and their GC Dimensions-mentors, companions, providers of support and instrumental help, communication about future plans usually on a personal and micro level. Passage of cultural and ethnic identity.

6 Grandparenting Styles include: Remote, involved, companionate. 50% tend to play the companionate role and 1/3 give advice, family history, and serve as confidant. Financial independence and independent lifestyle tends to reinforce this role. Education levels of both parties influences this role. Read page 193 Gender affects role-women closeness, warmth and fun and men advisor, mentor, assistance with chores. Qualitative aspects-positive views, higher self-esteem, lower depression, teacher role, nurturing. Modelling takes place in the same way parents and children have formed their relationships

7 Grandparents Caring for grandchildren-1/5 pre-schoolers who receive child care get it from grandparents especially in the case of working mothers. 4% of Canadians 15 and under live in a multi-generational household. See data on top page 198 Age, ethnicity, gender and class are key variables here and if grandparents maintain their independence and separate households they can place boundaries around child care. Grandparents become parent figures in cases of divorce, alcohol and drug abuse, physical and mental health problems, legal problems, death.

8 Grandparenting Consequences of caring-aging issues, lack of energy, illness, physical limitations, discipline and psychological issues, medical problems, school performance concerns. Lone grand-parenting can add stress. Differential treatment with different children in the family system can cause issues and concerns and ambivalence in the carers. Older people have expectations in retirement which do not often include intensive child care and associated costs.

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