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A Study on the Grandchildren-Raising Experience of Older Men

  • Journal of Korean Hyo Studies
  • 2013, (17), pp.81-113
  • Publisher : The Korean Hyo Studies Association
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities

이해숙 1 신효균 1

1전북대학교

Candidate

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to understand the meaning and structure of older men's experiences as a primary caregiver to grandchildren when their children are working couples with the phenomenological approach. In more detail, we conducted the research to find more practical and systematic policy implication on grandparents' parenting by focusing on older men's parenting experiences, which have been relatively neglected so far. Particularly we explored the necessity of social work intervention by investigating what older men whose children are working couples face and feel when raising grandchildren with their spouses. To study the subject, first we selected five older men who agreed to participate in the study after interviewing various grandfathers in charge of parenting grandchildren, different in personality from the men with ‘confucian’traditions and ethic to whom with a strong sense of gender equality awareness. We adopted Giorgi's phenomenological approach to intactly delineate the subjects' statements and translate them into academic terms and to deduce the meaning structure accordingly. After in-depth interviews with the selected five older men who have been taking care of grandchildren whose parents are both working, we deduced fifteen themes and five focal meanings. The following are the research results classified by focal meaning:1. parenting motivation: the older men are shown to participate in raising grandchildren to alleviate their frail spouses' pain and distress due to caregiving as well as because of love towards grandchildren and sympathy for their dual-income children. 2. difficulty of caregiving: male elders may find it difficult to raise grandchildren due to lack of children-raising experience and concern about side effects in the case of their own undesirable discipline. 3. parenting stress: the bigger agony of a male caregiver would be weakening of mental and physical conditions, renouncing wants and interests,severance of social life and loss of self-consciousness as a man. 4. the advantage of being male: grandfathers could give education with wide latitude to grandchildren because they are more powerful and active than women in general. 5. discrimination: grandchildren tend to depend on and be more attached to grandmothers compared to grandfathers when and after they are raised. The result shows that it is increasingly unavoidable for older men to participate in grandchildren-raising due to combination of various socioeconomic elements, and there are many different forms of grandchildren-caregiving by male elders in their twilight years of life. For this reason, continuous efforts in theory and practice are necessary to produce and allot the grandfather's role in raising the descendants. We believe that this will be a significant study because there is only a handful of research regarding older men's children-raising experience done so far in Korea. Moreover, it is expected to provide a useful implication for substantive examination of grandfathers' parenting experience by conducting complementary studies to research on grandmothers' parenting stress. Also, the study results will help promoting generalization of the theory about older men's grandchildren-raising by setting up the direction of research and developing the scale in terms of quantitative research. In conclusion, we hope that this study and its results will lead to follow-up researches that seek for ways to restore grandfathers' status as the anchor and life initiator of family by proving that direct or supportive raising of grandchildren contributes to base expansion of 'Hyo'(filial piety).

Citation status

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