By Emily Johnsen
Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. Everyone knows this, right? Well, most of us really do know this, but perhaps it just feels so natural and so right that we forget to appreciate this fact as we should. In the busy day-to-day lives of the average parent, it is easy to take for granted the positive effect that grandparents have on their grandchildren.
A few years back, a study was published in the Journal of Research on Adolescence which offered scientific validation for the unique importance of grandparental involvement. According to this study, researchers collected data from more than 400 families with fifth grade children to determine if grandparental influence has any effect, positive or negative, on children’s development and behavior.
Long story short, the study indicated a definitive correlation between involved grandparents and the development of “pro-social” behaviors in children. By pro-social, they were referring to “kind, helpful, and/or empathetic behavior toward others.” Simply put, when grandparents are consistently involved in their grandchildren’s lives, the children tend to be nicer people.
Here are a few more irrefutable facts uncovered by this study:
- Grandparents’ encouraging attitude can have a powerful, positive effect on children’s self-esteem.
- Regular interaction with a caring adult outside the immediate family helps develop strong social skills.
- Children who report closeness with their grandparents are less likely to struggle with depression.
- Children see grandparents as teachers and mentors.
- Adolescent children perceive grandparents as being more understanding than parents.
- Grandparents are an important source of advice and support.
- Grandparents matter above and beyond parents.
So there you have it, scientific proof of everything we instinctively know: relationships with grandparents have a profound impact on children’s development. For more information about how you, as a grandparent, have the power to teach and influence your grandchildren, please follow this link to Age of Montessori’s information-rich website. Age of Montessori empowers parents and grandparents to give children the gift of early literacy and more. Please check out The Royal Road to Reading program, an early childhood reading program for grandparents, parents, and homeschoolers.