Grandparenting in the Age of Mobility: Overcoming Geographical Distance and National Borders in Maintaining Ties with Grandchildren

Weronika Kloc-Nowak , University of Warsaw
Sylwia Timoszuk, Warsaw School of Economics
Martin Piotrowski, University of Oklahoma

The goal of this paper is to expand our knowledge on the grandparenting norms, expectations and practices. We will deepen the understanding of: (1) how geographic distance affects grandparenting and (2) how this is mediated by inequalities due to age, socio-economic characteristics and the use of modern communications technology by the grandparental generation. Also, we aim to identify whether there is a specific effect of having grandchildren abroad. While there are many studies on the provision of personal childcare by grandparents hosting grandchildren or visiting them abroad, this study will provide a unique insight into the emotional care and financial support from the grandparents to the grandchildren. The research will be original in several ways. Firstly, it will be based on a national data survey that is designed purely to collect information on grandparents aged 50+ living in Poland. The data collection is going to take place at the end of year 2019 and will include 1000 respondents. Secondly, the data collection will allow for obtaining unique information on grandparenting norms and practices’ adaptation to spatial mobility. This is possible since the interviews will be conducted with grandparents whose grandchildren live in close proximity, in distant locations or abroad – a highly novel approach within the current state-of-art in the research of grandparents. Thirdly, we will analyze the grandparent relation with both young and adult grandchildren. The case of Poland will serve as an interesting context since Polish society combines strong intergenerational and family care obligations with intense outmigration.

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 Presented in Session 50. Ageing and Intergenerational Relations