Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting: Findings from a Racially Diverse Sample

By Patricia L. East; Marianne E. Felice | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
The Role of Grandmothers in Adolescent Mothers' Parenting and Children's Outcomes

Increased attention has recently been paid to the influence that the mothers of teenage mothers have on their daughters' parenting. This attention has grown out of speculation that the outcomes for children born to teenage mothers might be improved when grandmothers are involved in their grandchildren's care ( Brooks-Gunn & Chase- Lansdale, 1991; Brooks-Gunn & Furstenberg, 1986a; Furstenberg, 1980; Furstenberg et al., 1987a, 1987b). Improved child outcomes would be expected for at least three reasons. First, due to age and experience, grandmothers' parenting is presumed to be of higher quality than that of their teenage daughters. Second, grandmothers presumably provide a positive modeling influence for their young daughters' parenting and, thus, high grandmother involvement offers more opportunity for positive role modeling ( Chase-Lansdale et al., 1994; Oyserman, Radin, & Benn, 1993; Stevens, 1984; Tinsley & Parke, 1983). Third, by offering direct, hands-on child care, grandmothers provide significant amounts of social support that buffer their teenage daughters and their children from the stresses incurred from early parenting ( Barrera, 1981; Cohler & Grunebaum, 1981; Colletta & Lee, 1983; Crockenberg, 1987b). But of the available literature, the evidence of grandmothers' influence on adolescent mothers' parenting is inconsistent. (The term grandmother here refers to the teen's child's grandmother and may be the maternal grandmother or the paternal grandmother.) Some findings reveal a positive relation between high grandmother child-care assistance and enhanced adolescent mothers' parenting sensitivity ( Crockenberg, 1987b; Furstenberg & Crawford, 1978), child acceptance ( Crockenberg, 1987a), and child stimulation ( Cooley & Unger, 1991). Other studies, however, have found negative relations between grandmother-provided child care and children's outcomes, with extensive grandmother child assistance linked with angry and noncompliant child behavior at 2 years of age ( Crockenberg, 1987a) and childreds behavioral problems at 7 years of age

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