‘Interference’ from grandparents who are child-minders upsets parents

The UK’s leading money saving brand has conducted new research which reveals that two fifths of parents make use of the services of grandparents instead of expensive childcare. Nothing perhaps too surprising about that, but of these parents, a full third feel that the grandparents interfere with the parents raising of their kids.

The poll was commissioned by the UK’s leading money saving company Vouchercloud, and it appears that a massive 39% of parents rely on their own parents for assistance to help keep down the costs of childcare; but 34% of these feared the perceived ‘interference’ of grandparents.

The study, conducted by www.vouchercloud.com, polled 1,798 UK parents with at least one child under the age of 4 as part of ongoing research into household finances; specifically related to childcare costs.

Respondents to the study were initially asked, ‘What methods of childcare do you use when unable to care for your child/children yourself?’ and asked them to select from a list of potential options.  Respondents were allowed to select more than one answer if more than one applied.

According to the results, the most common childcare methods employed by parents in the UK are as follows:

Grandparents – 39%
Professional childcare (Nursery etc.) – 34%
Friends – 29%
Extended family – 27%
Babysitters – 14%

The study then looked at whether these arrangements were down to personal preference or influenced by others factors, as it asked, ‘Are these your preferred childcare arrangements or would you have different arrangements given an unrestricted choice?’

Of the parents who utilised professional childcare, 53% said that they were happy with their arrangements. The remaining 47% said that they would use different arrangements if they were able, of which 61% explained that they ‘resented the costs’ of professional childcare. Just under two fifths, 39%, said that they would ‘prefer their child/children to be with family’. When asked why this was, 54% of these said that it was because they ‘trusted family more’.

Out of the respondents that said they looked to their child’s grandparents for childcare assistance, 42% said that it was their preferred choice as they were happy that their child/children were with family; whilst the majority, 58%, claimed not to be happy with the arrangement. Of those who used grandparents for childcare assistance, a third, 34%, explained that they feared ‘interference’ from their child’s grandparents; explained by the majority, 71%, as ‘having too strong an opinion on how I should raise my child.’  However, the vast majority, 69%, of those who had grandparents looking after their child explained that they had done so as it was ’cheaper than professional childcare alternatives.’

Those that used professional childcare were expressly asked what they felt the benefits were, which revealed 38% felt that professionals were ‘less interfering than family members’; whilst 40% explained that they felt that professionals were ‘more trustworthy’ than others. When those that turned to grandparents were asked the same question, the biggest benefit was ‘enriching the bond between grandparents and grandchild/children’, as 42% chose this as a response.

Matthew Wood of vouchercloud made the following comment:

“Grandparents are generally well meaning when it comes to childcare. Most of the time when they offer advice they’re trying to use their own experience in order to help their children safely tread the path of parenthood. After all they’ve been there before, so probably believe that they’re qualified to voice their opinion. This can, however, sometimes come across as interfering.”

He continued:

“The plus side of using professional childcare is the fact that they’re in a professional capacity and don’t pass judgement on the parents. The downside though, is the cost. So although grandparents may sometimes seem a bit interfering, they’re often the more financially viable option. Parents that can rely on the assistance of grandparents shouldn’t be too hard on them though, many people that don’t have that option would probably envy their circumstance.”

LINK www.vouchercloud.com