For many Latin derived nationalities, grandparents and grandmothers in
particular, are often regarded as the link to history, culture and tradition (Valle, 2005, p.
123; Copen, 2010, p. 497).
Accomplished through the development of the relationships
grandmothers have with their grandchildren, this connection is no different in Portuguese
communities across Canada.
Continuous interaction with grandchildren via story telling,
sharing common interests and the involvement of grandparents in child rearing aids the
fluidity of culture, language and tradition, as well as strengths the relationship bonds
across generations (Hebblethwaite, 2011, p. 128). To further understand this bond, as well
as the role, language, distance and child rearing play in the relationships between
Portuguese grandmothers and their grandchildren, a small-scale research project, done in
the Portuguese Community of the Greater Toronto Area.
A total of eight grandmothers
from the 55+ Portuguese Women’s Group located in Toronto and five second generation
grandchildren were interviewed, two sets whom were siblings (Sarah Lucas and Shawn
Lucas; Jessica Machado and Jonathan Machado).
This paper will illustrate the findings of this research by discussing the bond between
grandchildren and their immigrant Portuguese grandmothers in the Greater Toronto Area.
This will be accomplished by focusing on the impact that language, distance and child
rearing, by either providing daycare while parents worked or living in the same
household, have on the strengthening or deteriorating of this bond, as well as strategies
employed to overcome these barriers.
In addition, it will discuss and compare common
patterns observed in the responses of both grandmothers and grandchildren.
paper will briefly communicate the role of gender in grand parenting and how gender
determines the quality and the types of activities shared in these relationships.