Multi-generational parenting dynamics : Chinese grandparenting migrants in Singapore

Elaine Lynn-Ee HO, Tuen Yi CHIU

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Considerable scholarship on transnational families has considered the dyadic relations between migrant parents and left-behind children. These studies provide insights on the aspirations that migrant parents have for their children and their emotional negotiations of parenting from afar. While these insights are important for understanding transnational familyhood, they tend to focus on the parenting practices of nuclear families. Our paper adopts a different approach of analysing the triadic relations between grandparenting migrants, their migrant adult children and grandchildren. We argue that such an approach reveals two entwined dimensions of migrant parenting practices, first the grandparenting migrants towards their adult children, and second their perceptions of their adult children’s parenting practices towards the grandchildren. This multilayered analysis draws out the multigenerational dynamics of parenting practices, such as how the grandparenting migrants continue to provide care for their children into adulthood, as well as the way they contest and negotiate the parenting practices of their adult children. In the backdrop, their migration journeys and time with their families abroad are limited by restrictive migration policies towards family reunification. We engage with the literature on emotional transnationalism and add nuance to this concept by drawing out the emotional subjectivities and emotional labour that underpin the (grand)parenting work such migrants do. Our paper draws on interviews with 41 grandparenting migrants from China who had moved temporarily to Singapore to assist with childcare duties.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 17 Nov 2021
EventInternational workshop on “Contested Asian Parenting in Intra-Asia Migration” - Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 16 Nov 202117 Nov 2021

Public Lecture

Public LectureInternational workshop on “Contested Asian Parenting in Intra-Asia Migration”


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