How Living with Grandparents Can Boost Your Child’s Emotional Well Being

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Most people are familiar with the enthusiasm grandparents show for looking after their grandchildren, sometimes it makes you wonder why they weren’t this warm and cuddly when you were little. They do seem to change their parenting style to fit a new dynamic. 

But recent research has shown that the benefits of maintaining a close relationship between your parents and your kids go far beyond saving money on babysitting and the home-cooked treats your little angels get so chirpy about. 

A study by Boston College on the emotional and practical advantages of solidarity between grandparents and grandchildren found that close ties reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms of depression for both. 

For your parents, getting exposed to new ideas and being involved in the care of a new generation helps keep their minds sharp as it has been demonstrated by cognitive tests. As for the kids, one study by the University of Oxford done on teens between the ages of 11 and 16 found that they displayed fewer behavioral problems and got along better with their peers.  

The Role Grandma and Grandpa Play in Your Children’s Lives

With new advances in medical care come a higher life expectancy and better fitness level in later years, which makes it easier for grandparents to play a more active role in bringing up their grandchildren. After you and your spouse, there’s no one that loves your babies more than them. 

As long as you agree on a common parenting style and your parents or parents-in-law don’t bend the rules to the point that they’re contradicting you at every step, trusting them to look after your children will give you more time to strengthen your marital relationship, focus on your career or simply relax. 

A grandparent is someone that can offer them unconditional love, a mentor that they can talk to and gain insight into their problems and a window into their parents’ childhoods which helps them understand that you really were just like them once. 

The kindness, patience, and humor that is typical of their exchanges cannot be replaced and it gives the kids another level of support. The more people around to give your offspring love and encouragement, the better. 

Since granny and grandpa grew up in a less high-tech world, they can teach them skills you might have forgotten yourself like how to fix their bicycles, cook a meal from scratch, mend their clothes, look after the garden and so on. 

Their lessons and stories connect their descendants to their family heritage and keeps them grounded in such a fast-paced and confusing world. The tech-savvy youths can also help their favorite senior citizens navigate our highly automated environment and learn how to use gadgets that they would otherwise dismiss as scary sorcery. 

Keeping Your Aging Parents Close By

Living just with your spouse and children was not as common as it is nowadays. In many cultures such as in the Asian, Middle Easter, Easter and Southern European, African and Latin American, extended family living arrangements were and, in many cases, still are the norm. 

Even in Western Europe, it was quite widespread with the exception of England, where nuclear families have been the norm since the 13th century. There, young people would save money and once they married, they relocated according to where they could find employment opportunities and affordable property. Some have argued that this might have been a contributing factor to the onset of the Industrial Revolution and the rise of liberalism and free-market capitalism in the country. 

These days, the grand-parents themselves tend to prefer spending their retirement years in warmer regions as the climate is much more comfortable for their aging bodies and their children also look for educational and career opportunities across the country (much like the generations before them) or even the world.

Despite our deep-rooted customs, there are many practical returns to granny annexe designs. Long distances will become problematic once our parents start experiencing difficulties in their every-day tasks. We may be able to keep an eye out for them from afar through video calls, but when they need more hands-on help, we have no other option but to travel in order to make sure they get the medical care that they need.  

If you convince them to move close by, you’ll not only be better able to take care of their physical needs, but your household will gain someone with a wealth of experience, insightful stories and guru-like aphorisms. You’ll have more adults to talk to and get emotional support in issues your children may not be able to understand. 

Moreover, teenagers tend to open up more to relatives that don’t have as much authority over them as you do and you’ll be able to understand what’s going on with them as they’re learning how to navigate the early stages of adulthood and your dear old mom or dad may be more likely to give them advice that they’ll actually listen to. 

Some Final Thoughts…

We hope that we have convinced you why it’s so important to at least swing by grandma’s house regularly, if not charm them into moving in with you. As long as you have a good relationship with your parents or your spouse’s parents there are a lot of benefits for all parties involved. 

You’ll be better able to look after their health, you’ll have more adults to help you raise your young’uns, they’ll have the love of their grandchildren to hug away the loneliness and their little games will help keep their minds sharp. 

The children will, in turn, have more family for support, affection and instruction on how to navigate their increasingly complicated emotional and social lives. 

Just imagine how lovely Christmas dinners will be? Someone else to help you with the cooking, decorating or at least to keep those little rascals from finding the presents or eating all the cookies before you’ve even had a chance to set the table. 

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