Get to know the five types of grandparents

You'll likely fall into one of these categories of grandparents.

If you are a grandparent, you may be thoroughly enjoying and appreciating this role, perhaps more than any other you’ve ever had. It goes both ways, it’s well known that grandparents significantly influence their grandchildren and have a strong influence on the adults they become.

Every grandparent is different and has their own unique style. The last thorough study of grandparenting was conducted back in 1965 (isn’t it time for an update?!). In the study, the University of Chicago’s, Bernice Neugarten, identified five patterns of grandparenting.

Can you relate to one of these?

1. Formal grandparent

You follows what are believed to be the appropriate and traditional guidelines for a grandparenting role. You don’t like to interfere or overstep the mark with your children and their parenting. You see yourself as a parent first and a grandparent second. You support your child by providing assistance to help out and have a strong interest in the grandchildren.

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You’ll most likely be found: At prescribed events such as birthday parties and christenings.

2. Fun seeker

For you, it is all about fun. You get a kick out of surprising and entertaining your grandchildren and enjoy the leisure aspects of the role. You don’t worry about “spoiling” your grandkids with extravagant gifts and expensive experiences. You grandchildren see you as far more fun then their parents.

You’ll most likely be found: At theme park or circus joining in with the grandchildren.

3. Surrogate parent

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You act like a parent when you are with your grandchildren. You feel responsible for how the grandkids turn out and may intervene with correction and discipline and help “bring them up right”. If you see yourself as a surrogate, you might have a regular schedule of caring for the grandkids and consider it your job to reward good behaviour and punish unacceptable behaviour just like you did with your own kids.

You’ll most likely be found: At sports sidelines cheering on their grandchildren.

4. Reservoir of wisdom

You are clearly the patriarch / matriarch who dispenses advice, wisdom and resources but also has strong respect from the parent generation too. You may not be as hands on as the previous grandparents described but are always there when needed for consultation and advice.

You’ll most likely be found: At their homes, as grandchildren and parents come to them.

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5. Distant figure

You do not have a strong presence in the lives of your grandchildren. This may be because of distance, personal choice, busyness, frequent travel, or by the parents choosing to eliminate you are the grandparent from their child’s lives.

You’ll most likely be found: Not with their grandchild.

Perhaps you may find that you are a combination of two or three types depending on what is going on in your life, time and resources available. There is no right or wrong style and from time to time you may find yourself dropping into another role.

Do any these categories have your name all over it? What grandparent role are you and what things do you do that show it?