mgr Aneta Haligowska
The topic of my doctoral dissertation is: "Parentification of grandparents, causes and consequences"
In recent decades, many changes have taken place in the family regarding its structure and functioning. The role of grandparents is changing, which includes, to a greater or lesser extent, both the activities constituting the behavioral level of these roles, as well as the expectations concerning them, the actors themselves and the people among whom and for whom they are performed. In the modern world, grandparents are still associated with the "peripheral role" of helping parents without taking responsibility for the actual upbringing of their children (Cox, 2000). However, grandparents are increasingly shifting from traditional notions of their place in family life to roles of taking full care of their grandchildren. The phenomenon of taking over grandchildren, or parentification of grandparents, is becoming more and more common all over the world. Parentification of grandparents is the taking over by grandparents of parental roles and functions in families in which parents, for various reasons, do not fulfill these roles or fulfill them insufficiently, or show significant parental insufficiency in relation to their own offspring. Grandparents are included in the parental subsystem and play the role of a parent to a grandson and sometimes also to a parent of a grandson, providing help and support. The aim of the doctoral dissertation is to analyze the issue of parentification of grandparents. The formulated research problem concerns the determination of the conditions in which the support provided by grandparents contributes to the improvement of the psychosocial functioning of all family members, and above all the child, as well as the consequences of this phenomenon for grandparents, grandchildren and their parents.
The following three research questions emerge from the research problem.1. What determinants determine taking over parental roles by grandparents in the perspective of subjective necessities and objective circumstances as well as activation of the older generation?2. Are the consequences of parentification aimed at protecting grandchildren against external threats and at the functioning of the family in the psychological, social and economic dimension?3. How does the public opinion assess the impact of taking over parental roles by grandparents on disrupting the educational process of the young generation, socialization and shaping life attitudes?
In Poland, the phenomenon of parentification is poorly recognizable. One of the main reasons is the lack of scientific research on this subject (Napora, 2014). It therefore seems that a cognitively interesting research area is the parentification of grandparents, in which grandparents often save their loved ones, at all costs at any cost and at the expense of their own needs and development opportunities, by taking parental care over their grandchildren.