A new survey carried out by WIZO’s Division for the Early Age for Family Day 2012 which focused on the role of grandparents in raising their grandchildren indicates that grandparents in Israel play a large role in raising and educating their grandchildren, sometimesÂ even intervening in the educational principles of their young parents.
Findings show that 70% of grandparents help to raise their grandchildren on a regular basis and they see them at least once a week. However, more than a third of grandparents surveyed feel that their children don’t consider their opinions enough, in this matter, and more than a quarter declare when their grandchildren are with them they “are allowed to do everything” including those things that the parents don’t allow.
The purpose of the survey, that was carried out among a representative sample of grandmothers and grandfathers, was to examine the characteristics of the modern grandparents in Israel and the influence of social changes on the “role” of the grandmother and grandfather in Israel.
The results point grandmothers and grandfathers being highly involved in the lives of grandchildren 70% of grandparents help their children in raising and educating their grandchildren while 30% do not. Among those who help, the majority (70%) provide direct help like babysitting or transportation,and some (30%) prefer to give economic assistance ( such as buying clothes, toys, paying for the babysitter and more).
This involvement also leads to friction at times 53% of grandparents choose to point out to the parents when the behavior of their grandchildren does not look appropriate in their eyes and they intervene in the education of their grandchildren.
Although many of the grandparents intervene in their grandchildren’s education, over a third (35%) still feels that they are not consulted enough. There is a significant difference between the genders regarding this issue: 44% of grandfathers feel that they are not consulted enough – while only 28% of grandmothers think so.
The survey also reveals a subtle form of ‘revolution” – 30% of grandparents confessed that when their grandchildren are with them, they don’t abide by the parents’ instructions because “at grandmother’s and grandfather’s everything is allowed”.
Another interesting finding that inluences the degree of involvement is whether the grandchild is of the son or of the daughter. About 20% of grandparents said that there is a difference in their involvement with the children of their daughter. Another variable influencing involvement are: geographical nearness and the age of the grandchildren: the nearer the grandchildren live, and the younger they are – the greater the help and involvement of grandparents. About 89% of grandparents to grandchildren aged 5 or less spend are involved with their grandchildren at least once a week, as opposed to 64% of grandparents to older children. 50% of grandparents to children aged over five do not help in raising their grand children as opposed to grandparents to children in the early age. Half of them declare that living in close proximity is the most influential factor on assisting with the grandchildren.
The frequency of the meetings also points to deep involvement a third of grandparents are with grandchildren at least once a week, one fifth of them see their grandchildren almost every day (!), a quarter see them from twice to three times a week, and 16% see their grandchildren less than once a week.
Quite unsurprisingly, grandmothers are more involved in raising the grandchildren. Grandfathers are less involved but want more involvement: about a third of grandfathers reported that they don’t help at all to raise the grandchildren while only a quarter of grandmothers don’t help.
This is also the case with regard to the overall involvement. Half of the grandparents are hardly involved or are not at all involved in raising grandchildren. Nevertheless about 42% would like to be more involved’ while only 30% of grandmothers said that they are not involved in raising grandchildren.
Overall, grandmothers and grandfathers are satisfied with their degree of involvement in their grandchildren’s lives and consider that they are involved to the right degree (57%): 70% use the term “to be called to the flag” at any time they are needed in order to help with the grandchildren, even if it means changing their personal plans. 30% are not willing to cancel their plans. A significant difference was found regarding divorced grandparents: 40% of divorced grandparents do not cancel personal programs in any way in order to assist with the grandchildren.