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Modern slavery and grandparents forced to care for grandchildren

Modern slavery and grandparents forced to care for grandchildren

Grandparents are often a lifeline for many parents: leaving children with them, especially if they are young, with parents or in-laws, certainly has many positives, in terms of reliability, as you know the people you are leaving very well . Let's not talk about the economic aspect.

However, it is not uncommon for some parents to abuse the availability of grandparents by taking it for granted, so often grandparents are forced to care for their grandchildren.
The inspiration for developing this generally under-discussed topic comes from a question posed by an eighty-year-old grandmother in the Guardian, which was answered by psychotherapist Philippa Perry.

"It seems that your daughter is treating you like you don't deserve your life," the psychotherapist told the grandmother.

"I think that what prevents you from saying the word 'no' more often is the fear of your daughter. You are approaching an age where it would be appropriate to turn your attention to yourself.

If she asks you to do something that makes you angry, that's reason enough not to do it. Don't expect her to give you permission to do what you want. You may have to wait a long time", said the psychotherapist.

Available yes, but being willing to destroy someone's life in the name of the love they might feel for a daughter or grandson, no. This doesn't make any sense.

There is no law that makes grandparents responsible for taking care of grandchildren.

In Italy, according to a survey by Senior Italia FederAnziani, in 2021, out of 12 million grandparents, 46.2% took care of their grandchildren when their parents were not there. 43.3% have accompanied them to various activities, 9.4% have taken them to places of entertainment and 7.9% to vacations.

Going back in time, another 2016 study found that 33% of grandparents in Italy looked after their grandchildren during the day, compared to 1.6% in Denmark or 2.9% in Sweden. There are no studies in Albania, but there should be many more grandparents who take care of their grandchildren.

"The task of grandparents is to support children in their parental role, sharing living spaces with grandchildren, without taking the place of their children, keeping boundaries clear - declared psychologist Alessandro Riçi - At the same time, parents they must be careful not to involve grandparents too much in the care of their grandchildren. Everyone should keep their role, work as a team, be a team in which everyone has their space".

And if once upon a time it was much easier for children's education to be divided equally between parents and grandparents, since it was common for the former and the latter to share the same house, today some studies have drawn even a new phenomenon, that of the enslavement of grandparents, essentially forced to provide support of various kinds, physical as well as economic.

What, a priori, could represent an effective and therapeutic enrichment formula for the elderly and parents, in many cases takes the form of modern slavery. Where, instead of chains, strong emotional bonds are used.