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A Special Family Bond—Grandparents
Grandparents play a pivotal role in the development and health of young children. As traditional figures in the life of children, grandparents are typically viewed as the solid and dedicated caregivers in the family unit. The role of grandparents has become more influential over the years as more are serving as surrogate parents to their grandchildren (“The Protective Role of Grandparents”).
The emotional relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren can significantly affect the children’s academic, psychological, and social development. It has been shown that children have a higher level of self-confidence when grandparents give more affection (“A Grandparent’s Positive Influence”). Such emotional closeness has long-term positive impacts on children’s lives, including the value children derive from giving and receiving care from another person.
Benefits of Having a Grandparent
Parents clearly benefit from having a grandparent in a child’s life: There’s that extra pair of hands for diapering, soothing, cooking, and reliable childcare. But the children benefit, as well. Grandparents:
Fostering Strong Grandparent/Grandchild Relationships
Grandparents can build a strong relationship with their grandchildren in several simple ways:
Grandparents raising grandchildren are faced with a myriad of unique challenges including financial, health, housing, education, and work issues. Many support systems and resources are available for grandparents raising grandchildren to help them cope with the unique challenges affecting their families. For more information, see the following link to the AARP’s GrandFamilies Guide – Raising Grandchildren: Family Issues.
Family Activity: Grandparent Connection
Educator Activity: “Grandparents” in the Community
Quiz for Parents: Grandparents Rule!
“A Grandparents’ Guide: For Family Nurturing & Safety,” from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, provides grandparents tips to make profound contributions to their families and grandchildren.
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: A Call To Action (PDF 382 KB), from the Administration for Children and Families (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), addresses challenges facing families headed by grandparents.
Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002 (PDF 917KB), a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, provides information on several aspects of children’s lives, including housing and household members.
“The Protective Role of Grandparents,” from the University of Florida, describes research results that indicate that a grandparent’s active presence in a child’s life serves as a protective factor, particularly as it affects a child’s self-esteem.
“The Essential Grandparent: A Guide to Making a Difference,” from eNotAlone, is a personal article about grandparenting from the grandparent’s perspective.
“Grandparenting in the Digital Age,” from Education.com, gives quick tips for parents and grandparents on staying connected over distance.
Grandparenting: The Joys and Challenges (PDF 762KB), a detailed AARP brochure, describes the “changing image” of grandparents, the ups and downs of grandparenting, and the value that grandparents bring to the relationship.
“A Grandparent’s Positive Influence,” from the University of Southern California, describes the results of a research study that illuminates the link between grandparental affection and a child’s self-esteem.
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Updated on 5/9/2012