By Susan AdcoxUpdated April 13, 2018

If you are a Boomer, chances are that you never knew your great-grandparents, but that you will know your great-grandchildren. Thanks to our longer, healthier life spans, more of us will live to be great-grandparents. One Census Bureau official, quoted in a New York Times piece, said we are in the middle of a great-grandparent boom. The official estimated that by 2030, most 8-year-olds will have at least one living great-grandparent. Some predict that the boom will not last. Most Boomers had their children young, and even their children became parents fairly young. With today’s trend of delayed childbirth pushing back the age of becoming a grandparent, the likelihood of living long enough to become a great-grandparent becomes less likely. So those who are Boomer grandparents are living in a kind of sweet spot. 

What’s Different About Being a Great

The role of a great-grandparent is similar to the grandparenting role with a couple of subtle differences. Some great-grandparents reprise their grandparenting roles almost exactly. Many great-grandparents provide ​child care for their great-grandchildren and travel with them. Some great-grandparents are raising their great-grandchildren. More commonly, however, great-grandparents are a bit less involved than they were as grandparents. A gerontologist quoted in the Times article states that people tend to be more highly invested in generations that are closest to their own, so individuals usually are more invested in grandchildren than in great-grandchildren, and most invested in their own children. Another possible barrier is that great-grandparents may have difficulty relating to the way their great-grandchildren are growing up, especially when it comes to technology. We were amazed by our pocket-sized transistor radios, even though they had terrible sound quality. Our grandchildren use their…

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