Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > Mom's Life > Family Relationships > Grandparents > The "Grand" in Grandparents
|

The "Grand" in Grandparents

To many children, grandparents really are "grand" — as in magnificent and wonderful. After all, Grandma and Grandpa always are happy to see them, let them stay up late and sleep in, cook their favorite foods, buy them a beloved toy, and listen attentively as they recount their dreams and disappointments. Grandma and Grandpa just revel in their grandchild's presence, and vice-versa.

"Grandparents and grandchildren are kind of hard-wired to connect in ways very different from parents and children," says Dr. Arthur Kornhaber, founder and president of the Foundation for Grandparenting, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting the importance of grandparenthood. "They have this adoration and unconditional love and joy in one another's existence."

Grandparents are not burdened by the inherent judgment that parents face: namely, that a child's behavior reflects their effectiveness as parents. In essence, grandparents are freer to enjoy their grandchildren. Although today's grandparents may have busy lives, they aren't as likely to be overscheduled as their sons and daughters. "They have time to spend with their grandchildren, and their grandchildren know this," says Carleton Kendrick, family therapist.

Safety Net
Both Kornhaber and Kendrick acknowledge that when the grandparent-grandchild relationship has been nurtured, it provides the child with a strong sense of emotional security. Kornhaber says, "If for some reason their parents falter, children know they can rely on Grandma and Grandpa to catch them." Today, when millions of children are being raised by their grandparents, this has never been more important.

Keepers of History
Grandparents also provide children with a connection to the family's past. They give kids a sense of where they came from, a defining element in their identity. "Grandparents are the keepers of the family history," says Kendrick. "They are the talking photo albums of what the family is like." Because kids have a natural curiosity about the "old days," they like hearing stories, for example, about a grandfather's journey from Ireland in which he endured a week or more of sea travel in the bowels of a ship.

Children also like to hear stories about when their parents were little, especially with the parent present. "These stories humanize the parent," explains Kendrick. "In the child's eyes, the 30-, 40-, or 50-year-old parent is transformed into a child of 6, or 10, or 14."



More on: Grandparents

|


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Printable Fall Fun To-Do List
Celebrate the cooler weather with this printable checklist of fun fall activities for your whole family.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Top 10 Care Package Items for College Students
Show your college student that you love and miss her by mailing a care package full of dorm room essentials and comforting treats. Whether it's her birthday, exam time, or just because, get care package ideas to brighten her day.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!