Family Life

The Health Benefits of Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships

In the not-so-distant past, extended families were the norm, with multiple generations residing on the same street, if not in the same house. 

Today, the family unit is largely an amalgam of different situations. The rise of two-income families has pressured parents into finding childcare situations. Quite often, grandparents once again step in to offer guidance and support for youngsters. This can be a good thing for both the grandparents and the grandchildren.

Although a bevy of psychological research focuses on parent-child relationships, new evidence points to the benefits of the grandchild-grandparent relationship as well. Close relationships between these different demographics is often a sign of strong familial ties. 

A study from researchers at Boston College discovered that emotionally close ties between grandparents and adult grandchildren reduced depressive symptoms in both groups. Research at the University of Oxford among English children between the ages 11 and 16 found that close grandparent-grandchild relationships were associated with benefits, including fewer emotional and behavioral problems and fewer difficulties with peers. 

Adults and grandchildren alike benefit from relationships with their elders. Grandparents can provide a connection and exposure to different ideas while providing a link to family history and knowledge regarding traditions and customs not readily available elsewhere.

Kaci Treadaway with Veritas Counseling Center says, “Grandparents play such a vital role in what I would call supportive emotional care. Generally, grandparents are in a slower season of life with less distractions and possess the emotional capacity to invest and ‘tune-in’ to their grandchildren’s lives. Pursuing a child’s heart and giving a child the opportunity to feel fully known and fully loved supports the intricate process of that child growing into an emotionally well rounded adult.”

Nurturing grandparent-grandchild experiences may be easy for families where grandparents live in the same house or close by. For others, it may take some effort. The following are some ways to facilitate time spent together.

Best of all, by pursuing these relationships, grandchildren can help grandparents feel younger, and grandchildren can learn new experiences from their grandparents.

Newsletter Signup

Your Weekly guide to Baton Rouge family fun. BR Parents has a newsletter for every parent. Sign Up