College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

Liberal Studies


intergenerationl conflict, dialectial theory, relational dialectics, parenting, child rearing issues


This research focuses on understanding intergenerational conflict over child rearing from a communicative perspective. The theoretical lens of relational dialectics was used to study opposing forces that exist between grandparents and parents. Through 12 semi-structured interviews with parents of children under the age of 12, parents shared experiences of intergenerational tension about child rearing. The results reveal three main dialectics of intergenerational conflict over child rearing; openness and closedness, involvement and indifference and a dominating existence of old and new. Understanding how parents manage the communicative relationships with grandparents is an integral part of parenting and contributes to maintaining a healthy relationship.