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Longitudinal Study: LSAC
Title: Young children and their grandparents
Authors: Hayes, A 
Misson, S 
Gray, M 
Publication Date: Dec-2005
Pages: 10-17
Abstract: The relationships children have with significant adults, including their grandparents, are the foundation of their development. The 'Growing up in Australia' (LSAC) study provides new information on how much time young children are spending with their grandparents. This paper uses the first wave of LSAC collected during 2004 to estimate the extent to which young children have face-to-face contact with, and receive regular care from, their grandparents. Of particular interest is the impact of children having a parent living elsewhere on the frequency of face- to-face contact with grandparents. It also examines the nature of the relationship between the child and grandparent where the grandparent provides regular care, and how this compares with the relationship between the children and their centre-based carers. The analyses of LSAC data cast new light on the nature of grandparenting in Australia. They illuminate the patterns of grandparent involvement and the nature of their relationships with grandchildren. In addition to showing the extent of contact, they provide insights into the relationship of grandparent contact, both to the age of children and to the structure of their families. Around three-quarters of children have at least monthly contact with their grandparents; for children with a parent living elsewhere contact is more likely to be with the maternal grandparents. Overall, very few children have no contact, although parental separation substantially alters the pattern of contact. For policy makers the data reported here highlight the salience of grandparents in the lives of young children. They provide some valuable insights into the ways in which family structure, separation and divorce impact on these relationships. After divorce, grandparents play a particularly important role in caring for infants and assisting in raising the child. Their role tends to reduce as children get older. Future research needs to focus more directly on the patterns of contact with grandparents following separation and divorce. While for children with a parent living elsewhere, the data show greater contact with the maternal grandparents, more needs to be known about the patterns of contact with paternal grandparents and the factors that influence these. With longitudinal data, researchers will be able to look at the influence of grandparent care on children's developmental outcomes and for understanding variation and change in key social relationships for children, including those with their grandparents.
Keywords: Ageing -- Grandparents; Ageing; Children
Research collection: Journal Articles
Appears in Collections:Journal Articles

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