You know it well – your daughter/son or daughter/son in law has had to go back to work or may have recently separated from their partner and there you are, ready, able and perhaps even willing to give your time up to look after the grandchildren. You are a saving grace – how could they possibly afford the child care? How could they manage on their own as a single parent?
The Observer recently reported that with childcare costs rocketing, many parents rely heavily on grandparents so they can continue working. Figures from the Family and Childcare Trust show that sending a child under two to nursery part-time (25 hours) costs £115.45 a week in the UK – or £6,003 a year. That’s a 5.1% rise since 2014, and in London it can be much higher.
We all know that modern life is an ever shifting landscape, with the traditional family no longer the absolute norm. And you – the older generation can often find yourselves in the role of lynch pin of your child’s working modern family life…
Did you know that 1 in 3 working mothers rely on the grandparents to help? Grandparents Plus recognise the problems which can ensue, warning that many such grandparents simply are left to struggle and that they can often be ‘overlooked’ and ‘undervalued’. UK Grandparents do not share the same benefits as their European counterparts, although recent proposals to extend a legal right to working grandparents to time off to care for their grandchildren goes a small way to addressing imbalances.
Most grandparents do not want to be caught up in the fast paced lives of their children to the minutest degree, but some find themselves caught up in supporting their children through the care of the grandchildren, sadly sometimes at their own expense. Free babysitting often comes at a price – both financially and physically. We know that there are grandparents with limiting health conditions and those who juggle working commitments with their commitments to caring for their grandchildren.
In situations like this, replicated many times over across the country, difficulties can arise between the parents and grandparents – but what happens when resentments build or communication becomes difficult? What if, for you, free babysitting has come at a price you no longer feel able to pay?
Whilst family mediation is most commonly known for helping divorcing couples resolve finances and their children, it can be used to resolve a wide range of disputes within almost any relationship dynamic.
If you would like to learn more about how family mediation can help re-establish better communication and establish more realistic expectations of each other in situations where grandparents play a large part of the family dynamic, please telephone the office on 01279 211657 for a fully confidential and free, no obligation discussion of your needs and one of our fully accredited mediators will talk you through our step by step mediation process.