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Grandmother-Grandchild Contact: The Mediating Influence of the Middle Generation Following Marriage Breakdown and Remarriage

  • James W. Gladstone (a1)

Abstract

This paper focuses on ways that adult children and children-in-law mediate contact between grandmothers and grandchildren, following marriage breakdown and remarriage in the middle generation. A qualitative analysis of face-to-face contact between 110 grandmother-grandchild pairs was conducted. Findings showed that adult children have a more direct influence on visiting, by arranging or obstructing visits between grandmothers and grandchildren. The influence of first or second children-in-law was found to be more indirect. By preventing an estranged spouse from seeing his or her child, custodial children-in-law could also be preventing a grandmother's access to her grandchild, if she depended on her noncustodial child to bring the grandchild to see her when he or she exercised visiting rights. Children-in-law could also act as intermediaries through their absence as well as through their presence. These findings, as well as ways that grandparents can negotiate relationships with adult children and children-in-law, are discussed. Especially noted is the value of monitoring communication exchanges, maintaining friendly relationships with children-in-law and step-grandchildren, and acting as resources to the family.

Cet article explore les méthodes qu'utilisent les enfants-adultes et les enfants par alliance pour négocier tout contact entre les grands-parents et les petits-enfants suivant la rupture d'un manage et le re-mariage de la génération du milieu. Une analyse qualitative des contacts face-à-face entre 110 paires de grands-parents et petits-enfants a done été effectuée. Les résultats indiquent que les enfants-adultes exercent un contrôle plus direct sur les visites puisqu'ils peuvent faciliter ou entraver les rencontres entre grands-parents et petits-enfants. L'influence des premiers ou deuxièmes enfants par alliance semble-t-il serait moins directe. Lorsque l'enfant par alliance refuse de consentir à une rencontre entre son enfant et le conjoint qui est parti, la grand-mère peut être prive'e d'un contact avec son petit-enfant si elle dépend du conjoint qui n'a pas la garde de l'enfant pour lui amener son petit-enfant lorsque ce dernier exerce ses droits de visite. Les enfants par alliance peuvent également jouer le rôle d'intermédiaire par leur absence ainsi que par leur présence. Les résultats obtenus font l'objet d'une discussion, et le livre contient aussi des stratégies de négotiation qui pourraient aider les grands-parents à entretenir des liens avec les enfants-adultes et les enfants par alliance. L'auteur souligne l'importance de communiquer effedivement, d'entretenir des relations amicales avec les enfants par alliance et les petits-enfants par alliance, et d'agir à titre de personne ressource pour la famille.

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References

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Keywords

Grandmother-Grandchild Contact: The Mediating Influence of the Middle Generation Following Marriage Breakdown and Remarriage

  • James W. Gladstone (a1)

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