GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022 - 13

ask dr. gramma karen
The five stages of grandparenting
M
BY KAREN L. RANCOURT
any of life's significant events have been
described as having stages, that is, particular
points or periods in the growth or development
of something. For example, Elizabeth KublerRoss
wrote about the five stages of grief, Jean Piaget
detailed four stages of intellectual (or cognitive)
development, and Erik Ericson wrote about the eight
stages of psychosocial development.
Familiarity with the stages of various
occurrences can serve many purposes. This familiarity
can:
what is being exper* Provide assurance that one is not alone in
and what the futur* Enrich one's insights into what is happening
ienced.
e might hold.
and emotions.* Help us understand and deal with our feeling
* Give us the confidence to deal with new experiences
and changes.
Although much has been written about the various
styles of grandparenting, there is a dearth of
information about the stages of grandparenting.
I have attempted to fill this void. Based on
my research, personal experience, and what I
have learned from writing my advice column
" Ask Dr. Gramma Karen " for over ten years, I
have developed what I call The Five Stages of
Grandparenting.
Stage 1: Grandparents as indispensable
contributors
Stage 2: Grandparents as critical contributors
Stage 3: Grandparents as important
contributors
Stage 4: Grandparents as occasional
contributors
Stage 5: Grandparents as nonessential
contributors
13 GRAND Summer 2022
Before I write a few words about each stage,
I must point out that these stages are general descriptions:
they do not account for the unique circumstances
and relationships present in each family, or
the grandparents' access to a grandchild.
The stages I present are intended to provide a
framework to think about and better understand
grandparenting roles and how these roles change as
grandchildren age.
Stage 1: Grandparents as indispensable contributors
(From grandchild's birth to 4 years old)
When a first grandchild is born, these are glorious
times for many grandparents! Their grown children,
who are now new parents, turn to them for answers
and assurance. The grandparents often find themselves
instant rock stars, fonts of knowledge, and
revered oracles!
During this stage, the grandparents are very involved
in their grandchildren's lives, constantly being called
into service by the inexperienced parents, whether it
be for advice and counsel, or to be physically present
for the many " firsts " - the baby's first bath, first visit the
pediatrician, first time the baby eats solid food, the first
time the new parents leave the baby.
In effect, the grandparents partner closely with
the new parents. In many respects, they are akin to
co-parents, highly valued for their experience and
wisdom.
Continued on next page
https://www.facebook.com/GRANDmagazine https://twitter.com/grandmmagazine?lang=en https://www.ekrfoundation.org/5-stages-of-grief/5-stages-grief/ https://www.webmd.com/children/piaget-stages-of-development#091e9c5e80676cfd-1-1 https://www.webmd.com/children/piaget-stages-of-development#091e9c5e80676cfd-1-1 https://www.verywellmind.com/erik-eriksons-stages-of-psychosocial-development-2795740 https://www.verywellmind.com/erik-eriksons-stages-of-psychosocial-development-2795740 https://www.parents.com/parenting/dynamics/grandparents/challenging-grandparent-styles-and-how-to-set-boundaries-to-cope-with-them/ https://www.parents.com/parenting/dynamics/grandparents/challenging-grandparent-styles-and-how-to-set-boundaries-to-cope-with-them/

GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022

Contents
GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022 - Cover1
GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022 - 2
GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022 - 3
GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022 - 3A
GRAND Magazine - Fall 2022 - Contents
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