Steadying the Hands That Rock the Cradle: Exploring the Roles of African Grandmothers in the Stability and Sustenance of Diasporic African Families
Dr. Buster Ogbuagu
Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work, University of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois
The presentation explores how the nuclearization, therefore atomization of the family system in North America, as an off-shoot of individualism presents as a serious attenuation of support systems ordinarily. This finding portends even more challenges for Diasporic families, especially those from Africa, which social carpets have been ripped from under their feet owing to migration. Migration conveys stress-laden concomitants for Diasporic entities, which must, among other integration rites of passage, enter the labor force, adjust to the norms and mores of the new culture, balance their socialization and parenting repertoire with the conflicting types decreed by their host country, including endure revision of gender roles. Pertinently, it explores how African grandmothers as an often gender discountenanced social capital and support system, paradoxically attenuates spousal conflicts, including violence, impart culture relevant socialization to the grandchildren and assist to forge and maintain family homeostasis.