Busy boomers

Today’s grandparents love their new grandchildren, just don’t ask them to babysit

The study didn't include great grandparents. Perhaps Queen Elizabeth, seen here with great-grandson Prince George, occasionally finds time to babysit. (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool / Getty Images)

Today’s toddlers and small children may love spending time with their grandparents just as much as any generation before them, but for this generation’s set of grandparents, time is a hot commodity. According to new research, young Baby Boomers and older Generation Xers who make up the bulk of grandparents today are under 65, still working, and not willing to offer full-time or even regular part-time babysitting services to their adult children.

“Younger grandparents are very excited but may have work or other commitments or friends they want to see,” Ellen Breslau, editor in chief of grandparents.com, told The New York Times. “They all have full lives now. They don’t just drop everything.”

Susan Glickman, a 56-year-old teacher from New York, is “thrilled” to be able to spend time with her 8-month-old granddaughter who lives less than an hour away from her and her husband. But that doesn’t mean she wants to help raise her.

“I will do anything to help, but I think everyone has to have their own life,” said Ms. Glickman. “I don’t want to commit to a certain day every week. I feel like I raised my children.”

Grandparents today are more likely to agree with the statement “I love being part of my grandchild’s life, but it’s not the center of my life,” according to a grandparents.com survey, and many grandparents responded that conflicts over time demands and grandchildren are a source of significant stress in their lives. This generation’s set of grandparents are also the most affluent and highly educated grandparents in history, with the fewest number of grandkids on average, and many of the grandparents do donate money as much as they do time to helping raise their grandchildren. But as the most active group of grandparents, don’t expect them to drop everything to take a quick babysitting job.

“I’m involved, but I’m not the parent,” Catherine Giordano, 52, of Brooklyn, said. “I’m looking forward to getting to be involved and not necessarily doing it all over again.”

Read the full story in The New York Times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *