An exploration of intergenerational exchanges between grandparents and their older grandcildren
Christo, Shirley M.
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Changes within the family unit have resulted in changes in interactions between grandparents and older grandchildren. Existing research indicates that these relationships can result in positive outcomes. A relevant task for researchers is to continue to explore th~se intergenerational relationships. This qualitative phenomenological study explores the question: What functional patterns exist when grandparents interact with older grandchildren? Six grandparent-older grandchild pairs agreed to be involved. Kennedy's (1992) formulation of grandparent-older grandchild activity clusters was reviewed and revised. Activities were clustered related to socialization, companionship, support, entertainment, and education. Findings unique to this study indicate that shared activities were mutually chosen with consideration of activity tolerance, and were consistently evaluated as enjoyable. Partners were chosen because of a comfortable relationship established through frequent past and present interactions, and not because of family lineage preferences. Both grandparents and older grandchildren stated a desire to have a generation peer share activities with them. Exploration of dimension concepts for the "McMaster Model of Family Functioning" indicated that these relationships have potential to contribute to healthy family functioning. The implications for practice, theory development and further research are suggested.