Final Essay-Draft - University of Toronto Department of...

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University of Toronto Department of Spanish and Portuguese PRT 490 Independent Study Project Final Essay Grandmother-Grandchild relationships in the Portuguese community: A tale of language, distance and child rearing Paula Martins 990297166 April 4, 2011 Prof. Marujo
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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. Lastly, this 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.
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Most of the grandmothers interviewed had very little knowledge of the English language. They either had no understanding of English or understood some English words and phrases but could not respond in English (Interviews, Grandmothers, 2011). During the interviews it became apparent that language was the most important factor affecting, what the interviewees refer to as, the closeness of their relationship. They defined this closeness as being able to communicate daily happenings and feelings as well as sharing in common interests (Interviews, Grandmothers, 2011). Although all grandmothers interviewed articulated that they love their grandchildren
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This note was uploaded on 12/05/2011 for the course SOC SOC365 taught by Professor Kristawhitehead during the Fall '10 term at University of Toronto- Toronto.

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Final Essay-Draft - University of Toronto Department of...

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