A remarkable American study at Bringham Young University finds that grandparents are very important with respect to the role they play in their grandchildren’s lives. The report makes it clear that they play a key role in the happiness of their grandchildren. Author Jeremy Yorgasun, assistant professor in The School of Family Life, says:
“The emotional relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren can significantly affect the children’s academic, psychological, and social development.
Grandparents matter above and beyond parents, they are an important resource.”
A total of 408 fifth grade children were asked a variety of questions about their relationships with their grandparents. These questions were designed to measure how close they were to each other, among other things. The children were asked questions on a number of topics; for example, their likelihood to seek advice or support from their grandparent. To create a comparison, the questions were followed up a year later.
“We wanted to see how grandparents matter to children, so we asked a number of questions related to emotional closeness to grandparents.”
The study found that when grandparents are more involved in their grandkids lives, the kids tend to be more social, and also more engaged in school activities. They were more likely to develop pro-social skills, which is vitally important for their social development. Things like showing compassion for others was noted as evident among this group.
According to the study, income is not a factor in these close bonds between grandparent and grandkid. Not only that, but it is also of little consequence whether or not the family is a one-parent or two-parent family.
It did find; however, that grandparents who live with their grandchildren are not quite as close to them as those who don’t live with their grandkids. This is probably because the grandparent who resides with the children plays a role in discipline, while the others don’t. Grandparents who are non-resident are also more likely to promote positive development than those who live with their grandkids.
“Grandkids can find secure allies in grandparents – grandparents are like the national guard, if there is a problem they come in and help out.”
The Importance of Grandparents
Today, the importance of grandparents couldn’t be more true, with increasing numbers of busy working families and single parent families. Grandparents who get involved in these circumstances fill a major void in the lives of their grandkids.
Anthropologist Margaret Mead said that connections between the generations are “essential for the mental health and stability of a nation.”
The love between grandparents and their grandkids is a special love – one you can’t get any other place. This love is unconditional. There is no providing, and no discipline to worry about. There is just time to enjoy each other and have fun. Many kids will opt to go to their elder relatives for the holidays since it’s so much fun.
Why it’s Important to Form this Bond
- Children get a sense of who they are. They know their roots and they get a fuller perspective on life.
- Children develop higher self-esteem, as well as better social and emotional skills.
- Children feel special. It’s not really spoiling, as they don’t expect this treatment from everyone.
- Children learn new skills and hobbies from their grandparents.
- Children have someone to talk to and confide in.
- Children get all of the attention they need.
This study has also brought us to a deeper understanding of the benefits for grandparents. While children benefit enormously from this relationship, grandparents also get the opportunity to form close bonds with their special grandkids. Furthermore, they have the chance to leave behind a legacy through their grandkids. Best of all, grandparents are lucky enough to feel cherished and loved in their final years.
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