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Susan Adcox

When Grandparents Are Uninterested

By March 5, 2009

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While stereotypical grandparents dote on their grandchildren, there's a different breed of grandparents out there, according to an article in the New York Times, "When Grandma Can't Be Bothered." Apparently some grandparents are happier grandparenting from a distance, both physically and emotionally. Some of the parents complain that the grandparents don't even know their grandchildren.

I can't imagine grandparents not wanting to spend time with their grandchildren. On the other hand, some complaints from parents quoted in the article centered on grandparents not helping enough--not pitching in when babies were born, not contributing financially and not providing child care.

Here's my take: unless the parents obtained a commitment ahead of time, they should not expect the grandparents to serve as full-time caregivers in lieu of day care. They shouldn't expect financial support unless it was promised ahead of time. On the other hand, I think grandparents should spend time with their grandchildren, including providing occasional babysittiing. And I feel sorry for grandparents who don't get to know their grandchildren while they are children. They grow up so fast! What do you think? Comment below, or vote in my child care poll.

Read more from the grandparents' point of view:

Then read the parents' side:
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