The majority of Australian grandparents think parenting styles have worsened in recent years and that their grandkids are spoiled and face an unhappy future.
An ongoing study by the Australian Seniors Insurance Agency (ASIA) also found that seven out of 10 grandparents believe modern-day parenting styles are eroding important values in society and that their grandchildren will grow up to feel entitled.
The latest findings are the eighth instalment in the Raising Modern Australia report and show that most grandparents are worried for the future.
Chief Marketing Officer and Australian Seniors spokesperson Simon Hovell said, “today’s report shows the real concerns Australian grandparents have about the effect modern parenting could have on their grandchildren, and highlights generational differences in raising children”.
He added that many grandparents are being forced to take on the role of the disciplinarian because they’re own children are failing to lay down the law at home.
“We are seeing a fundamental shift in the traditional roles of grandparents and parents when it comes to raising Aussie children,” Hovell said.
“Today, parents are seen to be adopting behaviours that were previously expected from grandparents, such as spoiling children. Interestingly, this has led grandparents to assume more disciplinarian responsibilities, as the research revealed that just under a third (29.2%) of grandparents discipline their grandchildren more than the parents.”
While many Baby Boomers were raised in an era of strict house rules and punishment, recent parenting trends have seen children treated with a softer hand and more delicate approach.
The study says these new-age techniques have led eight out of 10 grandparents to “believe the praise and reward-inspired culture that exists today will negatively impact the future of their grandchildren”.
“It is clear that the seniors of contemporary Australia have identified a significant and paramount shift in parenting styles when compared to when they were raising children,” psychotherapist Dr Karen Phillip told ASIA.
“This can often challenge the role that seniors have grown up with given many grandparents today feel they have a responsibility to help parent their grandchildren.
“This report confirms parenting trends do vary from generation to generation, and grandparents have concerns about what this means for their grandchildren. The most useful thing parents and grandparents can do is have a conversation about their differences of opinion and experiences.”
Other issues that were raised included technology – most grandparents think today’s children use it too much — and sacrifices, of which grandparents are making many.
More than 70 per cent of grandparents have changed holiday, work or social plans to help out with the grandkids and just under half contribute financially to birthdays and Christmas presents.