In many cultures, the level of relationship between the family and its progenitors is quite high. This applies even to American families, where early separation from the parent family is accepted and older parents live separately from the family of adult children (“empty nest”). Kraig shows that the role of grandparents can be especially important in the case of single-parent families (one in five children in the United States now lives in such families) and if the mother is forced to work (this is the situation in virtually every second family with children under 3 years of age (US Bureau of the Census, 1993) (CIT. by: Kraig G., 2002).
In Russian families, the role of the “third generation” (and sometimes great-grandmothers) is especially great. In Russia at this time 12% of single-parent families (Boyko V. V., Ohanian, K. M., Kopytenko O. I.), the majority of women working. In many families that are nominally (by registration and, accordingly, according to the census) nuclear, there is a kind of “Institute of visiting grandmothers” who serve as nannies (for grandchildren-preschoolers) and governesses (accompaniment to schools and assistance in preparing lessons for grandchildren-school children). We can say that in many families, grandmothers play the role of “family holder”. In particular, this situation can be seen in destroyed,” eroded ” families with broken or failed families
spousal links (for example, in cases of illegitimate births to minor mothers).
By the term “family holder” we mean the family member who most feels and bears responsibility for the family’s prospects and the children’s future. This role, according to our data, is played by rural grandmothers in relation to their grandchildren, born already by urban mothers – their daughters or daughters-in-law. This is most evident in the case of eroded (by structure) families (which are disadvantaged in the performance of their functions). A great-family (usually a grandmother, sometimes a great-grandmother) takes care of their grandchildren, takes responsibility for them and their future, and interacts with external organizations (registration of guardianship, interaction with the school, municipal authorities, etc.). In case of ill health or death of such a family-holding grandmother, the grandchildren are more or less under the care of the state, since none of the other family members (the mother or the illegitimate father) is able to take care of the child. But this is an extreme case, usually grandmothers play a positive role in the family, helping a working mother raise a child.
American psychologists note that the functions of grandparents are usually different from their parents, and they have a slightly different relationship of attachment with their grandchildren. Grandparents are more likely to show approval, sympathy and sympathy, provide support, and less likely to punish grandchildren. Sometimes these relationships are more playful and relaxed (Lewis, 1987). Grandmothers often tell their grandchildren about their childhood or their parents ‘ childhood, which contributes to the formation of a sense of family identity and tradition in children (Kraig G., 2002).
Russian authors point to the great importance and variety of opportunities for grandparents in the family. This and psychological (emotional) support of the mother during pregnancy, and help advice in case of conflicts in the family, and playing with the grandkids, and regulation of the relationship between grandchildren (support of the firstborn when the second child), and pre-school grandson, and, of course, help student, etc. (Pankova, L. M., 1998).
The author points to the difference of the relationship to the grandchildren of the parents mother’s parents father: “If the relationship with the daughter is not formed, complicated relations with his son, often fade away and grandchildren from the son. Grandchildren are closer on the daughter’s side, and they are forever.” In the event of a divorce, the mother’s parents begin to help her even more with child care. “This is how a child forms completely absurd concepts – “his own grandmother” or “real grandfather”” (ibid., p. 116). The author writes that in some families, the” fair grandmother ” on the father agrees to help in the care of one grandson from his son and daughter, but is removed from the care of raising a second child. We can say that the family on the mother’s side does not have the same possibility of internal and behavioral “demobilization” from grandchildren.
Czech authors write about the positive role of grandparents, their mutual love and affection for their grandchildren, pointing out that when parents divorce, they should not interrupt the relationship of the older generation with the beloved grandchildren they raised. Divorce is often much harder for the parents of divorcing spouses than for them (single-parent Parenting, 1980).
A. I. Zakharov dwells on the negative influence of grandmothers in the family, considering a sample of families with sons 7-8 years old who have difficulties in learning in the first grade. “It should be noted the special role of grandmothers, who reduced to a minimum the activity of children with their annoying instructions, orders and prohibitions. They authoritatively planted their understanding, their way of life. Their belief in their rightness did not yield to logical dissuasion (Zakharov A. I., 2000, p. 82). According to their characterological characteristics, they were authoritarian women, with a certain paranoid mood and anxiety.