Exploring the Role UK Grandfathers Play in Parenting Culture: Intermittent Intensive Grandfathering

Ben Kerrane, Katy Kerrane, Shona Bettany

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grandparents play an increasingly active caregiving role in contemporary family life. However, specific exploration of grandfatherhood and its practice is rare. This article explores how intensive parenting norms inform men’s performance of grandfathering in the United Kingdom, with ageing offering men a ‘second chance’ to (grand)parent in ways qualitatively different from fathering. In-depth interviews with UK grandfathers revealed that while they displayed ‘involved’ grandfatherhood and practised elements of intensive grandfathering, this was often in typically masculine ways. Men embraced the competitive nature of intensive parenting, particularly around educational development, and advancement. Other elements of intensive parenting (e.g. expert-dependence, over-protectiveness and self-sacrifice) were, however, overlooked. Accordingly, we introduce ‘intermittent intensive grandfathering’, recognising discontinuities in the childcare tasks that participants would/would not involve themselves.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Early online date29 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Feb 2024

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