As parents we’ve all heard about the importance of positive parent-child relationships in the social and emotional development of children. There are countless research studies and supporting statistics that highlight the many benefits that come from strong parent-child bonds. What isn’t always recognized, however, is the positive impact that a close relationship between a grandparent and grandchild can have on the happiness and wellbeing of the entire family. Simply put, having grandparents around is good for everyone. A healthy connection between a grandchild and his or her grandparent is beneficial to both sides of the relationship, and here’s why:
Grandparents truly impact their grandchildren’s lives.
Studies show that as many as 9 out of 10 adult grandchildren feel that their grandparents influenced their beliefs and values. A child’s perspective of what constitutes a healthy, normal relationship is shaped by the relationship that he or she holds with a grandparent. Through regular contact, a sense of emotional intimacy, and unwavering support, children can experience what a true, positive relationship should look like.
Grandparents can greatly reduce household stress.
A 2014 study at Boston College found that “an emotionally close relationship between grandparent and grandchild is associated with fewer symptoms of depression for both generations.” For kids, having grandparents around means having the perfect companions to play with and have fun. Grandparents are some of the best partners when it comes to using creativity and imagination to discover the wonders of life. And in turn, most grandparents truly love their role. According to the American Grandparents Association, 72% of grandparents think being a grandparent is the single most important and satisfying thing in their life.
Grandparents have a great amount of experience.
Grandparents are a valuable resource because they have so many stories and experiences from their own lives to share. Oftentimes children will listen to grandparents even when they are not listening to their parents or other adults. Grandparents also offer a link to a child’s cultural heritage and family history. Children understand more of who they are and where they come from through their connection with their grandparents.
Grandparents provide a sense of security.
Especially during tough times, having an extra layer of support can make a big difference in a child’s life. Studies have shown that close grandparent-grandchild relationships during the teenage years are associated with less behavioral and emotional problems and fewer social difficulties with peers. Grandparents offer an extra ear when kids need someone to talk to, because sometimes children just find it easier to open up and share their difficulties and problems with their grandparents.
Grandparents offer an affordable childcare option.
With both parents in many families working outside of the home, it is oftentimes the grandparents that play a vital role in raising today’s youth. According to the 2010 Census, roughly 2.7 million grandparents provide for the basic needs of a grandchild, while even more take care of their grandchildren on a regular basis. If they are willing and able, having a grandparent act as either an occasional babysitter or a paid childcare provider gives many parents a great sense of comfort knowing that they are leaving their children in capable and caring hands.