First, let me introduce myself.
I'm Ruth Greenberg, a retired medical school administrator and writer. I became a grandmother in 2000 when my daughter gave birth to her first son, so I consider myself among the first 21st century grandparents!
When I became a grandmother, I can't remember spending any time at all thinking about how becoming a grandparent would change my life. But it did. Being a grandmother is a joyful experience, but there are challenges too--geographic distance, for example, and different parenting philosophies. And I wasn’t prepared for those challenges.
That’s why I’m writing this blog.
Grandparenting has changed. Twenty-first-century grandparents are younger, more active, more likely to still be working, and more likely to be providing financial support or daycare for their grandchildren. And the world our grandchildren live in has changed, which, in turn, is changing how, when, and where we interact with our grandchildren. Finally, some grandparents face challenges that their predecessors never could have imagined.
Consider a few facts:
According to a recent Met Life report on American grandparents, the number of grandparents today is at an all-time high and growing at more than twice the overall population's growth rate. There were approximately 65 million grandparents in 2010; by 2020, we should number 80 million, or one in three adults.
Americans are becoming grandparents at a younger age. The average age for grandparents is 48. The American Grandparent Association website reports that 43 percent of us became grandparents in our fifties, 37 percent in our forties.
Grandparents spend $52 billion annually on their grandchildren, with $32 billion accounting for education-related costs.
Grandparents also support their adult children – on average, $4,527 annually. Twenty-six percent of millennial children say they would not be able to maintain their lifestyle without their parents’ generosity.
Were I to become a new grandparent today, I would be better prepared. Guidance for grandparents is more readily available now than when I joined the ranks – a response, I suppose, to the growing number and importance of grandparents in family life and, of course, the technology revolution.
I spent my entire professional life in education. I started out a teacher in the New York City school system and ended up an Associate Dean at a Midwest medical school. Now that I’m retired and have time on my hands, I want to use my time and the research, writing and interviewing skills I learned along the way to study grandparenting and create a space where grandparents can learn from one another…and from what experts are learning and journalists are reporting.
Most importantly, I want this blog to be interactive—a site that grandparents visit to share their grandparenting stories and photos, ask questions about grandparenting, and comment on the news and information I post.
I'm not new to writing, but I am new to blogging (in fact, my grandson Daniel is responsible for starting this blog for me), so I hope that everyone who visits Grandparenting-Today will take a few minutes to email me with suggestions for improving this blog.
Wherever you are on your grandparenting journey, I hope you'll visit grandparenting-today often and that you'll find it a useful source of information, guidance, and inspiration!
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