In this book Kornhaber and Woodward explore the vital connections that link generations to each other and expose a new social contract that destroys the emotional bonds between grandparents and grandchildren.This is the first book that reviews, in a careful ethnographic manner, the relationship of grandchildren to grandparents and the place of love at one end and abandonment at the other by grandparents. The authors probe the deep, unexplored emotional histories of hundreds of grandparents: how they feel about themselves, their grandchildren, and their loss of function within today's nuclear family. With sharp increases in the number of broken families and working mothers, grandparents are more vital than ever and also more available than ever. This basic research document shows how grandparents recover their natural role as elders of the family and of society. The authors' basic premise is that to exist is to be connected, and that no matter how grandparents act, they affect the emotional well-being of their grandchildren, for better or for worse, simply because they exist.