Parents and children of today face a very different world than those of the previous generation. Awareness of these differences can help parents of today to navigate the role of grandparents in a child’s development in life and help grandparents play a special role in the family.
Grandchildren are a great joy to the grandparents. On becoming a grandparent, they feel a deepened awareness of the purpose of their existence and a connection to the past and future through family. Grandchildren are their hope for the future. They carry forward their family heritage and a genetic continuity into a time and a world they’ll never see. They are special.
They also have the joy of watching their children become parents as they give freely of their love, nurture and attention to the next generation. It is a pleasure to watch them enjoy and love their children. The love of the grandchildren is a link that further binds them together as a family growing closer through time.
Research suggests that children find unique acceptance in their relationships with grandparents, which benefits them emotionally and mentally. Grandparents can be a major support during family disruptions. Sometimes they’re playmates for their grandchildren. They’re very often role models and mentors for younger generations. They are also historians, they teach values, instill ethnic heritage, and pass on family traditions.
The different roles they play only serve to emphasize their vital link in the family. With a wealth of old world experience behind them, and having the unique ability of being able to metamorphose from advisers and listeners to mediators and friends, they can offer support and stability.
Here are some points which highlight the importance of grandparents in a child’s life:
1.) They act as the family historian– Your children can learn and know all about your rich family culture and traditions from the grandparents. Grandparents come with a vast knowledge of life from another generation, but also a personal history of one’s own family. They have lived a life very different to their grandchildren, and have usually seen many changes. Talking to grandparents about their lives, and even just picking up little snippets of information, can give children insight into the past and the history of their own family tree. Children can obtain a sense of where they have come from and a picture of where their own roots lie.
2.) Learning about the past helps shape the future– Their experience and the knowledge of the past helps shape the future of the children. If the grandparents have seen tough times that can help your child learn to stay humble and grounded.
3.) Gives your children perspective– The memories of their grandparents are small but fleeting glimpses of a life lived in other times. Some of them will help mold your children’s entire perspective on life. For instance, if their grandparents were poor, when they think about how poor they must have been as children, all sleeping in the same bed, they might feel appreciation for what they have today – but also a sense that it is not simply these comforts and relative luxuries that make one happy. It even provides them with a sense of inner-strength and determination, because they have a picture of people they love and care about, who sometimes plough through difficult times and yet succeeded in living happy lives.
4.) They act as bridges between children and their parents– Grandparents often bridge the gap between parents and their children. Rebellious independent children who are trying to find their feet are almost always at loggerheads with their parents. The role of the grandparents can be very important provided they act as impartial judges and are able to convey this feeling to both parties. Grandchildren prefer to listen to the grandparents rather than the parents with whom they are unfortunately involved in everyday arguments. The sense of objectivity and the absence of bias lend a sense of credibility to their roles as mediators
5.) They instill family values in children– One important thing, which seems to be missing in the lives of children today, is the sense of family values, religious beliefs and principles. This is where the grandparents help, they Inculcate beliefs and values. With changing times and changing outlooks, children have started to question the authenticity of everything. They do not believe until they are convinced. Globalization has eroded the sense of belonging and identity with their roots, and science and technology has them questioning everything. The parents who are already fighting constantly with time are perhaps not in a position to inculcate these values. Children are very demanding and grandparents without appearing to be pushy have all the time and experience to deal with tantrums. They appease, soothe, and impart values with tremendous ease.
6.) They bridge generation gaps– When grandparents feature heavily in the lives of children, it helps to create a bridge between the old and the young. This is hugely important, because so often it is a lack of understanding that creates social divisions in society.
7.) They act as role models– They are not only your role models but also for your children. With their immense experience they help and support the family in difficult times.
8.) They look after your children– They will take care of your children better than a nanny could ever do.
Grandparents add a certain depth to children’s life and help them to see where their roots lie. Mostly, though, they give your children love and support which they shall always cherish.