Six: The main grandparents

This chapter observes that once parents separate, grandparents on the mother’s side of the family often play a more significant role in supporting their daughter and caring for grandchildren, and maternal grandmothers often have a more influential role than their husbands, the maternal grandfathers. It notes that other research has concluded that both maternal and paternal grandmothers’ relationships with their grandchildren are different in quality from those of their husbands who are often less involved in childcare. It further notes that some grandparents in this study claimed that they conducted their grandparenting as ‘a couple’ or a ‘grandparenting unit’. It observes that these factors have led to a conception of a ‘grandparenting hierarchy’ in which grandmothers are ranked more highly than grandfathers and maternal grandparents take priority over paternal grandparents.

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