Despite factors such as spread out families, rising divorce rates, and family disharmony that make maintaining a connected extended family more challenging, research still shows there are real benefits to grandparents being involved in their children and grandchildren.
Grandparents fill many vital roles in their family structure and can offer great help to the generations coming up behind them. Even if grandparents are not geographically close to their grandchildren technology and the ability to easily travel to visit allows them to still remain connected to their grandchildren.
Here are just a few of the special roles grandparents fill in their families.
1. Grandparents Fill the Role of Historian
Grandparents fill the role of historian and pass on stories, understanding, and context for their children and grandchildren. This shared history helps grandchildren discover a significant sense of identity in the greater context of their family trees. Grandparents are the great storytellers of their families' past.
Sharing with their grandchildren tales about relative, family traditions, and important memories from their own growing up years. Hearing these stories help grandchildren gain a more positive image on aging and their place in their family becomes more clear. They feel like they belong to a family unit and a strong sense of belonging develops that gives them a feeling of safety and security.
2. Grandparents Are Role Models and Heroes
Grandparents have street credit! They have lived through hardships, trials, struggles, and all the many ups and downs that comes with having the chance to live a long life. These experiences make them into real-life heroes and role models to their grandchildren.
In the eyes of a grandchild, a loving grandparent who has lived through hard things is a safe-haven. They know that no-matter-what, their grandparents will be able to help them when they have a need.
3. Grandparents Are Amazing Caretakers for Their Grandchildren
Research has found that Preschoolers cared for by their grandparents develop more robust language skills. Another study by the University of Oxford shows that when grandparents are involved with their grandchildren’s lives their grandchildren are less likely to experience emotional and behavioral problems.
Grandparents being there to help take care of their grandkids gives them the chance to influence their futures for the better. Grandparents offer stability, fun, wisdom, and love when they are able to help in caring for their grandchildren in a fill-in-the-gaps caretaker or as a primary child care provider.
Research grandparents also offer financial support to help in the raising of strong and well cared for grandchildren.
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