How about a Fun Multi-Generation Family Vacation?


In her research, Madonna Harrington Meyer, a sociologist at Syracuse University and author of “Grandmothers at Work,” says there is “little money flowing uphill” to the older generation on family trips.

Grandparents often get the tab by default, especially when kids come to visit, but grandparents may be near or retired. With each mother-in-law and grandchild, hosting costs can increase.

Senior Morgans would take on vacation rentals until their growing families meant bigger homes at higher prices. Now they are asking each family to pay a fifth.

However, Donna and David Bolls, who have lived in Charlotte, NC for the past few years, have accepted a daughter’s invitation to join her family at a cottage on Seabrook Island, turning down offers to pay a portion of the weekly rent.

“We try to get the check if we go out to eat,” said Ms. Bols, 65. “Sometimes we split the food. We don’t want them to pay the whole bill even if they can.” Taking care of grandchildren, 5-year-old twins helps stabilize the notebook.

“People tend to go back to their usual roles without thinking,” said early childhood educator Sally Tannen, who for years led parenting and grandparenting workshops on 92nd Street Y in Manhattan.

Adult children may regress by waiting for their parents to take care of them and their children. “But you’re an adult now,” said Miss Tannen. Similarly, grandparents can expect to be responsible, which is a recipe for conflict in the immediate environment. “We’ve always been caregivers and it’s hard to let go,” she said. “We like to keep control.”


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