In recent years, an increasing amount of research has been done to show how strong relationships between grandparents and grandchildren benefit both generations. A Boston College associate professor of sociology, Sara Moorman, expresses that close grandparent/grandchild relationships often extend from strong overall family connections, but that the distinctive bond between the generations comes with its own specific benefits.
How many times have you heard someone tell a story about their grandparents with a hefty laugh and a twinkle in their eye? Or how often do you catch yourself reminiscing about time spent with your own grandparents? The same thing happens when seniors laugh and smile at young children talking to them in the grocery store and they casually mention their own grandchildren. The connection between the two does is apparent and both ages gain measurable benefits from spending time with each other.
Benefits For Grandchildren
A study done by the University of Oxford showed how the role of grandparents in their grandchildren’s lives promotes well-being and decreases emotional and behavioral problems. The study reports that “more than 1,500 children showed that those with a high-level of grandparental involvement had fewer emotional and behavioral problems.” The relationship does not just impact the behavior and emotional stability of children but also into adolescence. Along with these benefits, grandparents offer guidance, support, and help children better understand and accept aging.
The benefits for grandchildren can stretch into healthier communication skills, success in setting and reaching goals, and stronger interpersonal relationship skills.
Benefits For Grandparents
The mutually beneficial relationship has just as many advantages for grandparents as it does for grandchildren. Many aging adults struggle with feelings of isolation, depression, and loneliness, decreasing the quality of life and sense of fulfillment that aging adults experience. Strong relationships with their grandchildren can promote a positive state of mind, a greater sense of purpose, and an opportunity to learn new skills and ideas from a new generation.
Further research by The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) of 186 Australian women, aged 57-68, found that mental sharpness was increased in grandmothers who took care of grandkids once a week. Spending time with their grandchildren can help grandparents feel energetic and playful – but also fulfill a fundamental desire in the human development process to guide the next generation.
Grandparents can play a pivotal role in the lives of their grandchildren, providing a sense of calmness during crucial and devastating events such as the death of a family member or divorce. Equally, grandchildren give grandparents the opportunity to enjoy a new phase of life and to journey through the aging process with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can deeply impact both generations in a positive and important way. Research has provided much information about the significant benefits for both. As people are living longer, the relationships that the younger generation has with the older generation, and how we understand it is becoming more and more important and relevant in the overall quality of life.