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Children who spend time with grandparents are more secure and happier, studies reveal

Parents might think time with grandparents spoils kids, but that's not true.

Children who spend time with grandparents are more secure and happier, studies reveal
Representative Cover Image Source: Manon Allard / Getty Images

Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 24, 2020. It has since been updated.

If you were fortunate enough to spend time with your grandparents growing up, you likely have cherished memories. What you might not have realized is that they were helping you develop skills to become a more secure and happier adult. From guiding children through stressful situations like bullying or divorce to providing extra love and care, grandparents play a crucial role in a child's well-being. And now, there's scientific evidence to back this up.


Some parents worry that too much time with grandparents might spoil their kids, but science says otherwise. A study from the University of Oxford found that children with close relationships with their grandparents have fewer emotional and behavioral issues. They also have an easier time interacting with peers. Conducted by Professor Ann Buchanan, the study surveyed over 1,500 children and revealed that grandparent involvement is crucial for a child's development. It also found that grandmothers often take on nurturing roles, while grandfathers act as mentors.



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 dealt 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!



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