Who says we're stuck in the old ways of doing things? Our roles as grandparents have been keeping step with the times. There's a study with lots of data to show how we've shifted the way we help our grown children and the impact that's had on our grandkids.
Teresa Cooney, who analyzed data from a parent survey, compared parental support for their adult children in the 1980s-90s to more recent times. Thirty or 40 years ago parents were more likely to help out married children as opposed to adult children who lived with their partners without being married or were single parents. What that says is that, along with the culture, we've become more accepting of the many configurations that make up our notions of what a family is.
If we're tilting our resources towards our adult children who are single parents it's not surprising. They tend to have fewer resources than married‐couple families. At the same time, we tend to have more resources--not just the financial means but the time to help out; that is, to make our presence a positive factor in our children's and grandchildren's lives.
Here's Cooney's bottom line:
Grandparental support appears responsive to the needs of their adult children. Nontraditional families no longer receive less extended‐family support. Grandparents today appear to play an important support role for their children's families.
Can't put a price on the return on that investment.
painting: William Chase, A Friendly Visit