Q and A: Role of grandparents in the family

Friday, September 11, 2015

How has the role of a grandparent changed in the family unit?

Australia’s new grandparents are the Baby Boomers, born 1946 to 1964. Since the Boomers we’ve seen Generation X (born 1965-1979), Generation Y (born 1980-1994) and Generation Z (born 1995-2010) enter adulthood and the Boomers are now grand parenting Generation Alpha (born since 2010).

Australians today are living longer, working later and so are remaining active as grandparents later in life than ever before. Grandparents today belong to a generation of “downagers” – younger than their parents were at the same age, younger than their age would suggest, and based on the life expectancy rates, a 65 year old grandparent is more like a 58 year old of a generation ago.

Grandparents today hold a very important role within the family unit, and can pass down valuable advice to current Australian parents about discipline and parenting methods. For 21st-century parents, the input of their parents and the sage advice of grandparents has never been as important.

While a key role of parents today is to create a safe and supportive environment for their children in the great screenage, where parents today are raising digital natives, dot.com kids and screenagers, it is also important for parents to remember that the basic dynamics of parents and children are timeless. Therefore for 21st Century parents, the input of their own parents and the sage advice of grandparents has never been more important.


More on changing generational characteristics can be found in Mark McCrindle’s book The ABC of XYZ: Understanding The Global Generations.

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