Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What is a Grandparent?

Grandparents are the father or mother of a person's own father or mother, being respectively a grandfather (also colloquially grandpa, grandad, gramps, pop or many other terms) and a grandmother (also grandma, granny, grandmama, grandmums, gran, nana or many other terms). Everyone has a maximum of four genetic grandparents, eight genetic great-grandparents, sixteen genetic great-great-grandparents, etc.
In cases where the parents are unwilling or unable to provide adequate care for their children, grandparents often take on the role of primary caregivers. Even when this is not the case, grandparents often participate in the raising of children.
In traditional cultures, grandparents often had a direct and clear role in relation to the care and
nurture of children.
One can also be a step-grandparent. A step-grandparent can be your parent's stepparent or your stepparent's parent. A stepparent's stepparent is called a step-step-grandparent, etc.
The various words for grandparents at times may also be used to refer to any elderly person, especially the terms gramps, granny, grandfather, grandmother and even more types that most families make up themselves.
Two individuals who have grandparents in common, but are not siblings, are called
first cousins. The parents of a person's first cousins are his or her uncles and aunts.

When used as a noun (i.e., "…a grandparent walked by"), grandfather and grandmother are usually used, although grandpa/grandma and granny are often used. When preceded by "my…" (i.e., "…my grandpa walked by"), all forms are common (anywhere from "…my grandfather…" to "…my gramps…"). All forms can be used in plural, but gramps (plural gramps) is rare.
In writing, grandfather and grandmother are most common. In speech, grandpa and grandma are most common in the
US, where grandfather/-mother is very rare when referring to a grandparent in person. In Britain and New England nan, nana, nanny and other variations are often used for grandmother in both writing and speech.
Numerous other variants exist, such as gramp and grandpap or pop for grandfather and grandmom, grandmama and grammy for grandmother, etc. Because of the terms' unavoidable familiarity, there are many simplified versions as well, including gogo,grampy, granddaddy, grandpappy, etc.
Given that people may have two living sets of grandparents, some confusion arises from calling two people "grandpa" or "grandma", so often two of the other terms listed above are used for one set of grandparents. Another common solution is to call grandparents by their first names ("Grandpa George", "Grandma Anne", etc.) or by their family names ("Grandpa Jones", "Grandma Smith"). In America (where most families are of mixed ethnicity), many families call one set of grandparents by their ethnic names (i.e.,
Hispanic grandparents might be called "Abuelo" and "Abuela", French grandparents might be called "Pépé" and "Mémé", or Dutch and German grandparents might be called "Opa" and "Oma"). As you can see, there are many different types of names for "grandma" and "grandpa" for different languages and cultures.

The parents of a grandparent are called all the same names (grandfather/-mother, grandpa/-ma, granddad/-ma, etc.) with the prefix "great-" added. Thus, one's father's father's father is a great-grandfather. The same applies to one's great-grandparent's parents (great-great-grandparents). Also note that two individuals who share the same great-grandparents but are not siblings or first cousins are called Second Cousins to each other because second cousins are the grandchildren of your grandparent`s siblings.
All This To Celebrate the Impending Arrival of My First Great Grand Child in July. My Much too young Grand-daughter who was born to her much too young mother is expecting. (At least I won't be so OLD, that I Can't teach the child some infinate knowledge!)

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