Healthy and indulgent food consumption practices within grandparent-grandchild identity bundles: a qualitative study of New Zealand and Danish families

Stephanie O'Donohoe, Malene Gram, Caroline Marchant, Heike Schänzel, Anne Kastarinen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Both grandparenting and food provisioning practices play an important role in contemporary family life, but the role of food in grandparent-grandchild and wider family relationships is under-researched. Popular and academic discourse often focuses on grandparents as indulgent feeders, with negative implications for children’s weight and eating practices. Drawing on the concept of family identity bundles and interviews with Danish and New Zealand grandparents and grandchildren, it was found that, for both generations, being alone together was a treat in itself and a time for treats, although they were fluent in the discourse of balance and moderation. Grandparents’ food-related practices were shaped by the internalized as well as actual presence of the parents, but they tended to experience rather than express tensions over parental feeding practices. These findings offer a nuanced account of grandparents’ role in children’s (un)healthy eating practices, and of the role of food in intergenerational family relationships.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Family Issues
ISSN0192-513X
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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