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20-09-2019 | Review Paper | Uitgave 3/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 3/2020

A Meta-ethnography Synthesis of Joint Care Practices between Parents and Grandparents from Asian Cultural Backgrounds: Benefits and Challenges

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 3/2020
Nam-Phuong T. Hoang, James N. Kirby
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This systematic review aims to examine the joint care practices of grandparents and parents among Asian families and to discover their co-parenting relationship via synthesizing data from published qualitative studies.


A systematic search was conducted over seven databases. Papers were carefully screened. Meta-ethnography was selected as the method of data synthesis.


The objective screening process led to the inclusion of ten papers. Findings from the data synthesis proposed that the dynamics of joint care between parent-grandparent in Asian culture was distinct to other cultures, in three specific ways: (1) Grandparent child care was a cultural expectation; (2) There was little distinction between the roles of parents and grandparents in childcare, with high overlap of responsibilities; (3) Although there were many benefits, this relationship was far from being harmonious, with grandparents holding a higher perceived level of status/power in the relationship when compared to parents, thus parents were forced to negotiate many aspects of the relationship due to the overarching rule of filial piety (respecting the elderly).


Research and intervention for Asian families need to pay attention to the challenges parents were facing negotiating their co-parenting relationship with the grandparent. They should address both parents’ pragmatic needs for help and managing difficult emotions, whilst acknowledging their desire to stay close to the grandparents.

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