The New Family Values: More Grandparents Becoming Caretakers


According to popular media, Americanism is all about independence, capitalism, and family values. And it seems that the longer we live in a monumental recession, the more pronounced these characteristics become. The latest news ticks the family box: As the coffers empty, an increasing number of families are welcoming the previous generation into their home, to care for the children.

The Caretaker Profile

The Pew Research Center found that in 2008, 2.9 million children—or one in every ten—lived with a grandparent. In that year alone, there was a 6% increase in the number of children living with a grandparent, and over 40% of those children count that grandparent as their primary caregiver. The grandparents (being 80% of those age 65 and over) have of course changed along with their relations. A 2009 Pew survey found that the majority of grandparents make time with their grandchildren a priority, and that being a grandparent is a major part of their lives.

Capitalism at Home

The idea of grandma moving in might conjure thoughts of homemade cookies and knitted sweaters, but the reality is more along the lines of a barter between grandma and mom: Room and board for childcare. This potentially Rockwellian return to family is doubtlessly influenced by the recession—families circle the wagons and operate in the most cost-efficient way possible. Eliminating unnecessary costs while creating defacto family time? That’s a trend we can support.

Tell us in the comments: What role did your grandparents play in your life?

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