After studying the special bond between grandparents and grandchildren, researchers have found it to be mutually beneficial for both parties. Additionally, since people are living longer, these relationships become even more important over time as a 2015 Boston College study reported. The data, collected over a 19-year period, “found that emotionally close ties between grandparents and adult grandchildren reduced depressive symptoms for both.”
The study’s authors said one of the advantages for older people close to their grandchildren is they are exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking. Grandchildren benefit from the wisdom grandparents have gained over a lifetime, and can be more open to advice from grandparents than their own parents. Grandparents also have a lot to share regarding the family history, along with the history of our country and the world.
Another study out of England examining the relationship of children between the ages of 11-16 found children with close relationships to their grandparents had fewer emotional and behavioral problems and fewer difficulties with peers. The bond appears to help lessen the emotional damage children can experience when parents separate or divorce.
Moreover, as grandparents are typically not authoritarian figures in their grandchildren’s lives, they often act as confidants in situations where an older child might not wish to confide in a parent. Grandparents can be more objective than a parent and may have more time on their hands to really listen to their grandchildren. Another advantage to grandparenting is it gives a person purpose in their later years; however experts say to remember you are a role model for your grandchildren so make sure you are a good one.
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