AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

The experiences of grandparents providing regular child care for their grandchildren

by Judy Laverty

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Department: School of Education and Early Childhood Studies
Degree: PhD
Year: 2003
Keywords: child care; grandparent; pre-school children
Record ID: 1059561
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/733


Little research is currently available on child care arrangements involving grandparents, at a time of significant change within the child care sector. This study explored the experiences of grandparents providing regular care of their grandchildren prior to school entry. It used narrative inquiry, a qualitative research methodology to investigate the nature of their care experiences from the perspective of grandparent carers. Narrative tests were gathered through semi-structured interviews with 17 grandparents from a range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds across Sydney and in south-west NSW, Australia. The active engagement of grandparents in the preparation of interpretive tests enabled significant depth of meaning to be discovered within grandparents' stories. The study revealed the grandparents held contrasting views in relation to their care experience. They gained significant meaning from building strong bonds with grandchildren, while also experiencing loss of autonomy, physical tiredness, and in some cases, family tension. The study found grandparent careers were not a homogenous group and identified four carer clusters grouped around grandparents' perspectives on family contribution, care obligations and personal independence. The study points to the importance of grandparents having choice in care decisions and the need to establish arrangements with adult children that are true care partnerships. Doctor of Philosphy (PhD)