Parents may be under the impression that letting the kids spend time with their grandparents will turn them into spoilt brats. But that's not actually true.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 24, 2020. It has since been updated.
If you were lucky enough to spend time with your grandparents while growing up, you probably have really great memories to look back on. What you may not have realized while you were spending time with them is that they were equipping you with the skills you needed to become a more secure and happier person as an adult. From helping children navigate stressful situations, like bullying or a divorce, to giving kids that little extra bit of love and care, grandparents play an important role in the well-being of a child. Now, there's scientific data to back this up.
While parents might think that letting grandparents take care of their children for too long will only turn them into spoilt brats, science asserts otherwise. According to a study conducted at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, children who have tight-knit relationships with their grandparents tend to have fewer problems, both emotionally and when it comes to their behavior. In addition to this, children also have less difficulty when interacting and maintaining relationships with peers. The study, completed by Professor Ann Buchanan from the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, surveyed more than 1,500 children and displayed that increased involvement from grandparents can be crucial in a child's development. Furthermore, the study found that while grandmothers take on a more nurturing role, grandfathers become mentors to their grandkids.
Kimberly Agresta, the co-founder of Englewood’s Agresta Psychotherapy Group, has also noticed the significant benefits of allowing grandparents to be more involved in children's lives. "If parents regularly involve grandparents in their child’s life early on, a child can develop real emotional closeness to the grandparent and begin to see the grandparent as a source of strong social support," she stated in an interview. "So a child will feel that they have other adults, aside from their parents, who love and care about them in the same way, and this adds to their sense of stability and security." This sense of security can be imperative as a child passes through several phases of life.
She continued, "In potentially traumatic situations, like if a child’s parents are divorcing or they’re being bullied at school, those situations are less impactful because they have other people in their lives who they have these attachments to and support from." This is because grandparents don't generally take on parenting roles - there are no punishments to be doled out or responsibilities to be held accountable for. "Since grandparents are generally not responsible for disciplining or raising the child, they’re able to love the child a little more freely and unconditionally than a parent," Agresta explained, sharing the various roles grandparents take on. "Grandparents are a wealth of knowledge and information, and not only can they pass on valuable skills from real-life experience, but they can also share the past with their grandchildren. They can serve as historians, sharing all kinds of traditions and stories about when their own children were growing up, which creates a sense of continuity for a child." So it looks like it may be time to set up a play date for your kids with the 'rents!